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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United Parcel Service, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

June 9, 2017

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Plaintiff-Appellee,
United Parcel Service, Inc., Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit. No. 2:16-mc-50588-Arthur J. Tarnow, District Judge.

          Bonnie Mayfield, DYKEMA GOSSETT, PLLC, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Jill M. Wheaton, DYKEMA GOSSETT, PLLC, Ann Arbor, Michigan, for Appellant.

          Julie L. Gantz, EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Washington, D.C., for Appellee.

          Before: NORRIS, MOORE, and STRANCH, Circuit Judges.


          KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge.

         This case concerns the scope of evidence that Plaintiff-Appellee Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") may obtain in investigating charges of discrimination. Sinisa Matovski, an operations manager for Defendant-Appellant United Parcel Service, Inc. ("UPS") who has a disability, filed an EEOC charge claiming that UPS discriminated and retaliated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"). In particular, Matovski claims that UPS published confidential medical information about him and other employees on its intranet page. The EEOC began an investigation into Matovski's claims, which resulted in a subpoena that requested information about how UPS stored and disclosed employee medical information. UPS opposed the subpoena, claiming that the requested information was irrelevant to Matovski's charge. This resulted in the EEOC filing an application to enforce the subpoena. The district court granted the application, and UPS has appealed. Because the information that the EEOC requests "relates to unlawful employment practices" covered by the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-8(a) (2012), we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The origin of this appeal is an EEOC charge that Matovski filed on March 25, 2014. R. 1 (Mar. 25, 2014 Charge) (Page ID #30). The first portion of Matovski's charge claims that UPS violated 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of "medical examinations and inquiries." 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(1). Of particular concern was a September 2013 request for medical leave that UPS published on its Health and Safety intranet site. R. 1 (Mar. 25, 2014 Charge) (Page ID #30). Matovski requested that his information, which included his "condition and symptoms and basis for [his] leave, " be removed from the site. Id. However, "it remain[ed] accessible to other UPS employees as of" February 16, 2015. Id.; R. 1 (Feb. 16, 2015 Charge) (Page ID #32). Matovski filed an amended EEOC charge on February 16, 2015, which stated in addition, "I am aware that all other employees subject to Health and Safety incident action/reports have had their confidentiality breached in the same manner as me." R. 1 (Feb. 16, 2015 Charge) (Page ID #32).

         Matovski also claimed that, since he disclosed his disability and complained of discrimination, he had "been subjected to heightened scrutiny of [his] performance and subjected to negative treatment that [his] peers who do not have disabilities do not face." R. 1 (Mar. 25, 2014 Charge) (Page ID #30). Specifically, he claimed that "[i]n the spring of 2013 and again in October of 2013, [he] complained to Human Resources about what [he] believed to be discriminatory treatment based on [his] disability and need for accommodation, and since [he] raised these concerns, the negative treatment of [him] has accelerated." Id.

         As part of its investigation into these charges, the EEOC issued a subpoena for five pieces of evidence, three of which are at issue in this appeal.[1] The first request was for "a copy, in Excel, or Comma Separated Values Format (CSV), of the year end 'SCS-CSI H & S' report for the years 2013 to the present." R. 1 (Subpoena) (Page ID #35). This report contains information about employee injuries and accidents, including "the nature and location of the injury and accident, the injury type, whether the injury or accident is an OSHA type event, the District of the employee, business unit of the employee, and when not identified as a privacy case, information such as the employee's name, and employee identification number." R. 1 (UPS's Pet. at 1-2) (Page ID #41-42). The EEOC estimates that "there could be six, seven hundred people just on . . . one worksheet within this Excel file that contains multiple worksheets." R. 11 (Mot. Hr'g Tr. at 8) (Page ID #124). The second request was for "a copy of the 'privacy case' criteria and all documents regarding its implementation and creation." R. 1 (Subpoena) (Page ID #35). The EEOC explained that it seeks this information "to understand how UPS is determining what is a privacy case. Are they acknowledging theoretically that some of this is confidential information that shouldn't be shared with all managerial employees throughout the country[?]" R. 11 (Mot. Hr'g Tr. at 16) (Page ID #132). The third request was for "a copy of the 'RiskConsul' Oracle Database in Ecel [sic] or CVS [sic] format that replaced the 'SCS-CSI H & S' report, from the date of implementation to the present." R. 1 (Subpoena) (Page ID #35).

         UPS petitioned the EEOC to modify the subpoena, arguing that some of the requested information was irrelevant and burdensome, R. 1 (UPS's Pet. at 4) (Page ID #44), but the EEOC denied UPS's petition, R. 1 (EEOC's Determination on UPS's Pet. at 1) (Page ID #56). The EEOC then filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan its application for an order to show cause why an administrative subpoena should not be enforced. R. 1 (Appl.) (Page ID #1-24). After holding a hearing on the EEOC's application, R. 11 (Mot. Hr'g Tr.) (Page ID #117-36); R. 14 (Nov. 3, 2016 Order) (Page ID #148-49), the district court ordered UPS to comply with the first three requests in the EEOC's subpoena, R. 7 (July 21, 2016 Order) (Page ID #111-12), "for the reasons that the EEOC has put on the record and in their brief, " R. 11 (Mot. Hr'g Tr. at 19) (Page ID #135). This appeal follows. R. 8 (Notice of Appeal) (Page ID #113-14). The district court had jurisdiction pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 161(2), and we have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291.


         A. Standard of Review

         "A subpoena enforcement proceeding is a summary process designed to decide expeditiously whether a subpoena should be enforced." EEOC v. Roadway Express, Inc. (Roadway Express I), 750 F.2d 40, 42 (6th Cir. 1984). Generally speaking, the purpose is not to decide the merits of the underlying claim. Id. We review "a district court's decision to enforce an EEOC subpoena . . . for abuse of discretion." McLane Co. v. EEOC, 581 U.S. ___, 137 S.Ct. ...

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