FAQs About Equal Employment Opportunity Rules

Q:  In the Commission's original Report & Order from 2002 creating the current EEO rules, it stated that broadcasters and multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) could use Internet sources for recruiting for openings but could not rely solely on Internet sources.  Is that still the policy?

A:  No. On April 21, 2017, the Media Bureau issued a Declaratory Ruling updating its EEO policy on recruiting widely for full-time openings to permit broadcasters and MVPDs to use the Internet as a sole recruitment source when recruiting for vacancies, as long as the recruitment is still sufficiently broad to meet EEO recruitment requirements.  The previous policy had held that sole reliance on online recruitment sources did not satisfy the requirement under the Commission’s EEO rules that job postings must be widely disseminated.  The Media Bureau found in the Declaratory Ruling that Internet usage now has become sufficiently widespread to meet the “wide dissemination” requirement.  The Declaratory Ruling took effect on April 21, 2017, the day it was released.

Q:  When do the new EEO rules take effect?

A:  The new EEO rules took effect on March 10, 2003.

Q:  If a multiple station owner's personnel chief, who is responsible for hiring at corporate headquarters participates in a job fair at a university, can all the licensee's stations claim credit for the job fair menu item (See Section 73.2080(c)(2)(i)) if no one who works at the stations participates?

A:  No.  In order for the stations to claim credit for participating in a job fair, someone with hiring authority for that station must attend.  If the corporate personnel chief does the hiring for all of the stations, then they can claim credit.

Q:  If the licensee of a station also has other business activities and there are employees who work at both the station and the other activities, how do you count them?

A:  If an employee works for the licensee 30 hours a week or more, this employee would be considered to be a full-time employee of the licensee.  However, if this person splits her time between two operations of the licensee (the station and the other work), count her as a station employee if she works more than 50% of the time on work for the station.  If she works exactly 50% of the time on station work and 50% on other work, use your good faith judgement about whether she is primarily a station employee or an employee of the other part of the operation.  For example, what is her job title, what are her main duties, is she a station engineer who helps with the other work, etc.

Q:  How long should a job vacancy remain open before it is filled?

A:  Broadcasters and MVPDs are expected to allow a reasonable time after recruitment is initiated for applications to be filed before the position is filled.  In some instances, a shorter time might be necessary because of extraordinary circumstances.

Q:  When does my station have to place its EEO public file report in the public file?

A:  On the anniversary of the filing of the station’s renewal application.  For example, a radio station in California was due to file its renewal application on August 1, 2005.  Therefore, each year on August 1, radio stations in California place their EEO public file reports in their public file and on their website if they have a website.  The most recent public file report should be in the public file and on the website.

Q:  Has Form 397 been eliminated and what is the current status of a broadcast mid-term review for EEO?

A:  Under 47 CFR Section 73.2080(f)(2), the Commission is required to conduct a review of certain stations’ EEO programs at the mid-point of their license terms.  Stations subject to mid-term review are television stations or employment units (one or more stations in the same market under the same owner who share one or more full-time staff) with five or more full-time staff and radio stations or employment units with 11 or more full-time staff.  To determine which stations needed to receive a mid-term review and to enable Commission staff to review the two most recent annual EEO public file reports from a licensee, prior to May 2019, eligible licensees were required to file Form 397 at mid-term time.  After 2019, Form 397 will be eliminated and Commission staff will conduct mid-term reviews using publicly available information.  Licensees that have already filed Form 397 during their current license term should retain the form in their online public file until grant of their next license renewal application.

EEO Filing Search

  • To download comments and other documents electronically in MM Docket No. 98-204 and MM Docket No. 96-16, see ECFS.  You may view the comments by entering the docket number in the proceeding field.
  • To search the database for information about EEO filings by broadcast stations, use the FCC's Consolidated Database System for EEO Filings.

EEO Complaints

Anyone with knowledge of any violation of the FCC's EEO rules committed by a licensee of a broadcast station or an MVPD unit may notify the FCC EEO staff of the alleged violation at any time.  Complainants should keep in mind, however, that anyone filing such a complaint should include as much specific information and supporting evidence as possible in order for the EEO staff to investigate properly.  Also, because of limits imposed on the Commission by statutes of limitations on violations, it is best to file such a complaint as soon as possible after a violation occurs.  Anyone interested in filing a charge alleging that a broadcaster or MVPD has discriminated unlawfully may file with the EEO staff but, in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the FCC and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the EEOC is the lead federal agency on determining discrimination.  If a charge is filed with the FCC, we will act as a receiving agency but will forward the charge to the EEOC for evaluation.  In accordance with the MOU, the FCC will take cognizance of any final finding of discrimination determined by the EEOC or other competent body such as a state agency or court.  The deadline for filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC is 180 days from the date of the discrimination.  Any questions about how this deadline is determined or if there are any exceptions should contact the EEOC.

Anyone wishing to file a complaint should write to:

Federal Communications Commission
Media Bureau, Policy Division, EEO Branch
45 L Street NE
Washington, D.C. 20554

To receive more information about complaint procedures or the cable EEO provisions in general, please contact the EEO Branch at (202) 418-1450.

For more information pertaining to the Policy Division, please call:  (202) 418-1450.

FCC Media Bureau > Policy Division