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Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Plaintiff-Appellant Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”) appeals the district court’s refusal to enforce the EEOC’s subpoena because the EEOC failed to meet its burden of proving that the information sought, regarding the sex of employees of Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company (“Southern Farm”), was relevant to the racial discrimination charge filed by the EEOC against Southern Farm based on a complaint of a black male employee, or to the EEOC’s investigation of that complaint. We affirm the district court’s ruling and hold that, under the particular facts of this case, the EEOC at this stage of these proceedings cannot expand its racial discrimination investigation to procure evidence of sex discrimination as well.

Complainant L.C. Thomas (“Thomas”) filed a charge with the EEOC alleging that Southern Farm violated Title VII*fn2 by discriminating against him because of his race. He further alleged that Southern Farm practiced class-wide discrimination against African Americans when hiring insurance claims representatives. In the course of the EEOC’s investigation of Thomas’s charge, Southern Farm provided the EEOC with a list of employees by name, position, and race. From this information, the EEOC became concerned that Southern Farm may have discriminated on the basis of sex as well as race, and advised Southern Farm in a letter that it was expanding the scope of its investigation “to include the issue of the failure to hire females as Claims Representatives/Claims Adjustors.” The EEOC then requested information regarding the sex of Southern Farm’s employees in various job positions, but Southern Farm refused to provide such information. It contended that the EEOC could not expand its racial discrimination investigation into a sex discrimination investigation based on nothing more than Thomas’s charge.

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