A federal district judge in Arizona has ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does not have the authority to investigate generalized charges of discrimination that are not tied to charges by an aggrieved party.

In EEOC v. McLane Company, Inc., Judge G. Murray Snow of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona also ruled that some of the information requested by the EEOC was overly broad and not related to the underlying charge.

In ruling on the validity of the EEOC’s administrative subpoena, the Court noted that it must conduct a three-part inquiry, asking: “(1) whether Congress has granted the authority to investigate; (2) whether procedural requirements have been followed; and (3) whether the evidence is relevant and material to the investigation.