EEOC Charge Subject to Public View, Court Finds

In an Order issued yesterday in Canada v. Perkins Coie LLP, 18-cv-11635 (SDNY April 2, 2019), an employment discrimination case, the court held that the EEOC charge submitted with plaintiff’s complaint was not subject to sealing and should be accessible to the public.

In reaching this conclusion, Southern District of New York Judge Furman wrote:

Although “the mere filing of a paper or document with the court is insufficient to render that paper a judicial document subject to the right of public access,” United States v. Amodeo, 44 F.3d 141, 145 (2d Cir. 1995), the Second Circuit has “easily conclude[d] that a complaint is such a document,” Bernstein v. Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, 814 F.3d 132, 139 (2d Cir. 2016). Here, Plaintiff has incorporated the EEOC charge into her Complaint — so much so that Plaintiff’s reference to the EEOC charge constitutes the entirety of her supporting factual allegations. See Docket No. 2, at 5. Under those circumstances, the EEOC charge is plainly“ relevant to the performance of the judicial function and useful in the judicial process,” Bernstein, 814 F.3d at 139, as the Court could not adjudicate Plaintiff’s claims without considering it. The First Amendment and common-law presumptions of public access therefore attach to the EEOC charge, and having considered the parties’ submissions, the Court concludes that neither presumption is overcome.

Accordingly, the court denied plaintiff’s motion to seal the EEOC charge.

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