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EEOC v. Union Road Towing, Inc.

Articles Discussing Case:

Employers May Not Be Entitled to Full Disclosure of Potential EEOC Class Action Before Suit Is Filed

Franczek Radelet P.C • May 24, 2012
Employers often expect that, before the EEOC can expand a single-employee EEOC charge into a class action lawsuit, the EEOC must explain the scope of any potential class action and offer an employer the opportunity to resolve it. That expectation is open to question, however, after the Northern District of Illinois’s recent decision in EEOC v. Union Road Towing, Inc. In that case, the Court rejected an employer’s attempt to eliminate an EEOC class action based upon the limited nature of the EEOC’s pre-suit disclosures. Because the Seventh Circuit has not yet resolved this specific issue, the district court’s ruling increases the risk to Illinois employers that the EEOC can turn adverse findings in single-employee charges of discrimination into claims on behalf of an entire class of employees, without first affording the employer an informed opportunity to attempt to resolve such class-wide claims. As explained below, to retain the possibility of pre-lawsuit resolution of such claims and avoid expansive discovery, employers should repeatedly seek clarification of the scope of any potential class action referenced in EEOC reasonable cause determinations or conciliation discussions.