EEOC can enter employer premises without consent

Without a warrant, and without consent, a judge allows the EEOC to enter an employer's premises to investigate a discrimination charge. But let's not get too excited about this because the judge performed a review process that "lends all the protections a formal warrant procedure would otherwise provide." EEOC v. Nucor Steel Gallatin, Inc., Criminal No. 15-53-GFVT (E.D. Ky. Apr 28, 2016). After the EEOC sent the employer a Request for Information that resulted in the EEOC getting some information, the EEOC requested an on-site visit, and the employer refused. So the EEOC issued a subpoena to permit on-site access "to conduct witness interviews, examine the facility, and obtain/request any additional information as it pertains to the" job in question.

The employer balked, so the EEOC petitioned the court to show cause why it should not be compelled to comply with the subpoena.

The court issued an order compelling the employer to permit an EEOC investigator to perform an on-site inpection after finding that the EEOC's regulatory scheme provides comprehensive procedural safeguards:

"The Commission first notifies the company of its intent to perform an inspection; if the company refuses, the agency will issue a subpoena detailing the nature of its request. 29 CFR § 1601.16 (a). The company may then petition the Commission's Director or General Counsel to modify or revoke the subpoena. Id. at (b)(1). If the Commission denies this appeal and the company still refuses to comply, then 'the General Coun[sel] or his or her designee may institute proceedings to enforce the subpoena' in federal court."

Oh, one more thing:

"When the Commission seeks enforcement of a subpoena, reviewing courts must determine whether (1) the subpoena is within the agency's authority, (2) the agency has satisfied its own due process requirements, (3) compliance would be 'unduly burdensome,' and (4) 'the information sought is relevant to the charges filed.'"