David Morrison, a principal in the firm's Litigation and Labor & Employment groups, was quoted in "Ruling Alerts Employers to Make EEOC, Lawsuit Comparisons Quickly," published in the June 11, 2019, edition of Business Insurance.
The article encourages employers to move quickly to compare discrimination allegations made in lawsuits filed against them to previous complaints made to the EEOC in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Fort Bend County v. Lois M. Davis.
The court's ruling revolves around the issue that employees filing suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 must first file a complaint with the EEOC. The procedural ruling reminds employers to immediately check if charges in litigation filed under Title VII jive with those in the previously filed EEOC complaint. If the charges do not match, and employers act immediately, then they can get that claim dismissed, but delaying the action means they may lose that chance.
“In many ways, the ruling is not particularly surprising,” said Mr. Morrison. “It has been the general rule among most courts to consider the EEOC charge filing requirements to be a procedural obligation of the plaintiffs, not necessarily a jurisdictional limit on the courts.”
Mr. Morrison also said, “When our clients are sued, one of the first thing things we do is, we will serve a Freedom of Information Act request to the EEOC,” asking the agency to provide it with its files on the case. The EEOC “typically responds quickly and will provide all the publicly available information from their files,” which includes the boxes checked on the input form and any other information that may be considered part of the charge. At that point, an evaluation is made as to whether the complaint identifies allegations that were brought to the EEOC’s attention, he said.