Last month, we reported on a Seventh Circuit case demonstrating the broad scope of the EEOC’s investigative and supervisory powers. In that case, EEOC v. Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A., Inc., the court upheld an EEOC subpoena seeking to obtain the production of hiring data from the employer in response to a charge alleging racial discrimination with respect to terms and conditions of employment and eventually discharge. Today, we report on a case that demonstrates that the EEOC’s investigative and subpoena powers are not limitless.
In EEOC v. UPMC, Carol Gailey, the charging party, was terminated by The Heritage Shadyside on June 22, 2008, for exceeding her maximum available leave of absence. Heritage Shadyside is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UPMC Senior Communities, Inc., which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UPMC. Heritage Place employs 170 people while UPMC employs over 48,000 people. Ms. Gailey filed a charge with the EEOC alleging disability discrimination. In response, Heritage Shadyside filed a position statement and attached several UPMC policies, including the leave of absence policy, which provided the basis for termination. The EEOC then sent a request for information to UPMC – not Heritage Shadyside – requesting the identities of employees at "all facilities in the Pittsburgh region" who had been terminated pursuant to the UPMC leave and disability policies for the period July 1, 2008 "to the present." UPMC objected to the scope of the EEOC’s request and the EEOC issued a subpoena for this information.