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Total Articles: 17

State-Law Ramifications of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis: Massachusetts and Rhode Island as Case Studies

In Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the requirement in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that an employee file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission before commencing an action in court is not jurisdictional. For federal court filings, this means that employers may want to make sure to raise the defense that an employee failed to exhaust administrative remedies on his or her Title VII claims at the time it answers the complaint and may also want to consider filing a motion to dismiss. Although this decision has clear implications for Title VII actions, it also may affect the litigation of employment discrimination and retaliation claims under state law, such as claims filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) pursuant to M.G. L. Ch. 151B and with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights (RICHR) under Rhode Island’s State Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA).

Title VII Discrimination Claims Can Go Straight To Federal Court Rules Supreme Court

On Monday, June 3, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled federal courts can hear discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act even if they are not first brought to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or comparable state agency.

Charge of Discrimination is Not Jurisdictional: U.S. Supreme Court Makes Dismissal of Discrimination Claims More Difficult for Employers

On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the requirement under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for employees to file an administrative charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or equivalent state agency before going to court was procedural and not jurisdictional.

Supreme Court Eases Path for Employee Discrimination Lawsuits

An employer may not rely solely on an employee's failure to file a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to dismiss a Title VII lawsuit, the Supreme Court has ruled. This unanimous holding in Fort Bend County v. Davis makes it more difficult for employers to dismiss discrimination lawsuits on technical grounds.

Supreme Court Affirms Title VII Administrative Exhaustion Defense Must Be Timely Raised

Executive Summary: In a much anticipated decision to settle a significant split between the federal appellate circuits, the Supreme Court held on Monday that Title VII’s requirement that a plaintiff file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC prior to filing suit in federal district court is a procedural, not jurisdictional, requirement “that must be timely raised to come into play.” See Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis (June 3, 2019). Siding with the majority of federal appellate circuit courts, the Supreme Court found that “jurisdictional” prescriptions are usually reserved to determine the classes of cases the court can entertain, and over whom the court may exercise authority, while procedural prescriptions fall more in line with “claim-processing rules and other preconditions to relief.” Accordingly, the Court concluded that Title VII’s administrative exhaustion requirement, while mandatory, is merely procedural, and requires defendants to timely raise the defense or else waive it.

Don’t Panic: The Supreme Court Did Not Just Open the Floodgates to Bias Claims

Those who pay attention to the Supreme Court may have seen several recent headlines about how a new decision makes it easier for employees to pursue employment discrimination claims. Headlines like “High Court Weakens Employer Defense to Job Bias Claims” (Daily Labor Report) and “Bias Accusers Can Go Straight to Court, Justices Say” (Employment Law360) grab attention, but they are a bit misleading once you dig into the details of the case.

Supreme Court Holds EEOC Charge-Filing Requirement is Not Jurisdictional

On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Fort Bend County v. Davis that the requirement to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC (or relevant state or local agency) is not a jurisdictional prescription to a lawsuit’s claim under Title VII. Rather, it is a non-jurisdictional mandatory claim-processing rule that is a precondition for relief. The practical result of this decision is that employers must now timely raise any defense of failure to exhaust administrative remedies, or face the risk that their defense will be waived.

Snooze and Lose: Defendants Need to Raise Plaintiffs’ Failure to File Charge Early in Litigation

The requirement under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that a complainant file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prior to filing suit in federal court is a prudential, claim-processing rule that does not determine whether a court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the dispute, the U.S. Supreme Court has held in a unanimous ruling. Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, No. 18-525 (June 3, 2019).

eLABORate: Supreme Court Limits Employers' Defense to Job Discrimination Lawsuits

In a unanimous June 3, 2019 ruling, the United States Supreme Court significantly limited employers’ ability to have job discrimination claims dismissed when employees procedurally fail to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or similar state agency.

Employers, Beware: SCOTUS Ruling Creates Title VII Litigation Trap

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that Title VII’s administrative exhaustion requirement—whereby an aggrieved employee first must file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or a state agency before filing a lawsuit—is merely a claim-processing rule, rather than jurisdictional. As a result, an employer who does not assert “failure to exhaust” as an affirmative defense to a lawsuit might waive the ability to seek dismissal on that basis. In light of today’s decision, employers must ensure they identify an employee’s failure to exhaust at the outset of any Title VII litigation to preserve their ability to dismiss the claims on that ground (Fort Bend County v. Davis).

Supreme Court Rules Title VII’s Requirement to File a Charge With the EEOC Is Not Jurisdictional

On June 3, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the precondition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requiring employees to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before commencing an action in court is not jurisdictional. Rather, the charge-filing requirement is a “nonjurisdictional claim-processing rule,” Justice Ginsburg wrote in a unanimous opinion. “[A] rule may be mandatory without being jurisdictional, and Title VII’s charge-filing requirement fits that bill,” the Court ruled. Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis, No. 18-525.

Help! I Just Received a Charge of Discrimination. Now What? - Part 3 of 3

In this three-part series, we are exploring best practices for handling a charge of discrimination. The first part of the series addressed important preliminary questions you should be asking upon initial receipt of the charge. The second part dealt with best practices for the investigation phase of the administrative process. This final part of the series will address what you should do once the EEOC issues its finding.

Help! I Just Received a Charge of Discrimination. Now What? - Part 1 of 3

So you’ve just received a charge of discrimination from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or a local agency. Now what? In this three-part series, we will explore best practices for handling a charge.

Federal Appeals Court Overturns Decades Of Precedent To Revive Workplace Claim

Overturning 40 years of precedent, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled that an employee’s failure to file an EEOC charge does not necessarily bar consideration of a private discrimination lawsuit. By concluding that an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge is not a jurisdictional prerequisite to suit, the federal appeals court’s August 17 decision provides a new lifeline for disgruntled employees and former employees to bring suit against their employers (Lincoln v. BNSF Railway Company, Inc.).

Second Circuit Upholds Sexual Orientation Discrimination Claim Under Title VII, Primes Debate for Supreme Court

On February 26, 2018, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals rendered an en banc decision in Zarda v. Altitude Express that significantly expands employees’ rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ten judges joined at least in part in the majority decision and held that sex discrimination under Title VII encompasses discrimination based on sexual orientation. Three judges dissented and would not have extended Title VII protection to sexual orientation. This decision came 11 months after the Eleventh Circuit declined to recognize sexual orientation as a protected category under Title VII in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital and 10 months after the Seventh Circuit disagreed, holding that sexual orientation is covered by Title VII, in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College.

As The Economy Struggles, EEOC Charges Increase

The cataclysmic effects of the longest and deepest recession since the 1929 depression will significantly change many aspects of our society for generations. The devastating impact of the recession on large segments of the workforce can be counted as one of the more significant effects. While it remains to be seen how the recession will change the psyche of this generation over the long term, one objective measure showing one aspect of the change is the large increase in EEOC charges as the economy nose dived.

4th Circuit - Retaliatory Discharge Claim May Not Have to Be Specified in EEOC Charge.

Before an individual may file a lawsuit under Title VII or the ADEA, he or she is required to file (or cross-file) a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. The charge is legally sufficient only if it describes with particularity the parties and the actions or practices of which the individual is complaining. The scope of a plaintiff’s right to file a federal lawsuit is determined by the contents of that charge; that is, the lawsuit must be based upon the claims described in the charge, or reasonably related to those described in the charge. Typically, a claim submitted to federal court will be dismissed if the EEOC charge alleges one basis of discrimination, and the formal litigation alleges another, unrelated basis.
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