Supreme Court Rules On Requirement For Filing Discrimination Complaints


Posted by: Chris

Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on their race, color, religion, gender, and national origin. If an employer violates this federal law, victims have the right to take them to court. But first, they must file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that outlines the employer’s discriminatory actions. 

Make sure you include as much information as possible when filing a claim with the EEOC. What happens if you accidentally leave something out? Here’s what you should know: 

What Happens After Filing A Complaint? 

First, it’s important to understand what happens after you submit a complaint to the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate each complaint to determine whether or not there is any truth behind the allegations. If there is, the EEOC can file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim. If the EEOC is unable to determine if the allegations are true, they will give the victim the right to file a lawsuit on their own. The victim will then have 90 days to file a lawsuit against the employer in civil court. 

Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis

In most cases, the initial complaint and lawsuit will center around the same allegation. For example, let’s say a victim files a sexual harassment complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC does not find enough evidence to verify the allegations, so they give the victim the right to sue. The victim then files a sexual harassment lawsuit against their employer in civil court. In this example, both the initial complaint and lawsuit involve allegations of sexual harassment. But, what happens if a victim’s lawsuit contains allegations that were not included in the initial complaint?

The Supreme Court recently heard a case that involved a Texas county employee who sued her employer for religious discrimination. The employee had filed a complaint with the EEOC accusing her employer of sexual harassment and retaliation, but she did not mention religious discrimination until the lawsuit was filed. Her employer argued that the case should be thrown out since the employee failed to follow the EEOC’s rules by filing a complaint about religious discrimination prior to filing a lawsuit. 

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the employee. The court ruled that the plaintiff’s failure to include these allegations in the initial claim was a violation of the EEOC’s rules. However, the court found that the employer did not object to this violation in a timely manner since it was not mentioned until four years into litigation. If the employer had objected to it earlier, it could have affected the plaintiff’s right to pursue damages for religious discrimination. 

This ruling illustrates the importance of filing a complete complaint with the EEOC. If you fail to mention something in your complaint, you could lose your right to sue your employer for it in the future.  

Have you been discriminated against in the workplace? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.