Supreme Court to Review EEOC’s Charge Conciliation Obligation


Under Title VII and related federal civil rights laws, if the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finds cause to believe that an employee’s rights have been violated, the agency is required to attempt to negotiate a resolution of the dispute through a process called conciliation. However, many employers receiving cause determinations have faced a “take it or leave it” demand from the EEOC, with the agency refusing to negotiate, share information, or to otherwise explore compromise.

When these matters lead to suits filed against the employer by the EEOC, the defendants have challenged the legal sufficiency of the conciliation process, alleging that the agency failed to meet its statutory obligation to seek a resolution prior to filing suit. In the past, federal courts have been willing to look into the issue of adequate conciliation efforts, but have applied a range of standards with regard to the EEOC’s obligations. However last year, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in EEOC v. Mach Mining that the EEOC had wide discretion whether or not to seek a settlement prior to filing suit, and that employers faced with lawsuits could not challenge the sufficiency of the conciliation efforts.

At the end of its term last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review Mach Mining. Hopefully, the Court will issue a uniform rule regarding conciliation that will end the EEOC’s practice of tailoring its settlement efforts to the legal jurisdiction where the matter arose. Arguments in this case will be scheduled for the Fall, with a decision expected next year.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.