Magazine article HRMagazine

Courts May Not Consider Sufficiency of EEOC Investigation

Magazine article HRMagazine

Courts May Not Consider Sufficiency of EEOC Investigation

Article excerpt

A court can review whether the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) conducted an investigation prior to a lawsuit, but it may not evaluate the sufficiency of that investigation, according to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Between 2005 and 2007, 19 female employees of Sterling Jewelers Inc. filed charges with the EEOC, alleging a nationwide practice of gender-based pay and promotion discrimination. The agency subsequently issued a letter of determination finding that Sterling violated Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and then filed a lawsuit against the company. Sterling sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that the EEOC had failed to conduct a pre-suit investigation, as required by statute. The district court found no evidence that the agency performed a nationwide class investigation and dismissed the claims. The EEOC appealed.

The appeals court vacated the district court's dismissal order and remanded the case for further proceedings, finding that the lower court improperly considered the sufficiency of the EEOC investigation. …

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