Fenwick Employment Brief - September 2013: EEOC Sued for Unauthorized Mass Solicitation E-mail to Company Employees

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After sending 1,330 e-mails to employees of Case New Holland, Inc. and its affiliates in an alleged effort to solicit plaintiffs to commence a class action lawsuit, the federal EEOC found itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit alleging that the agency acted without authority and violated the employer’s statutory and constitutional rights.

In Case New Holland, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the plaintiff alleges that, in connection with an EEOC investigation of the company and its affiliates under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and after the company had cooperated with the EEOC’s investigation and requests for information, the EEOC sent a mass e-mail and survey to the work e-mail addresses of 1,330 employees of the company throughout the United States and Canada without notice to or the consent of the company. The e-mails requested that employees provide information concerning possible job discrimination, including, for example, whether employees were aware of any “age-related comments.”

The lawsuit, which has been filed in a federal district court in the District of Columbia, alleges that the EEOC’s actions are in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and the United States Constitution and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees and costs.