It's critical to catch errors in EEOC cases early

by on May 21, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Complainants errors in EEOC cases can be part of your winning defense strategy

Here’s more evidence that it’s important to get your ducks in a row quickly when responding to EEOC cases and discrimination lawsuits.

An appeals court just ruled that the spirit of EEOC laws overrules some of the technical, statutory requirements for EEOC cases.

Didn’t swear under oath in during the complaint investigation

In the case, a plaintiff filed a charge before the EEOC, but forgot to swear under oath, as required by Title VII and the ADA. The company never objected to this procedural lapse when responding to the charge. So the EEOC ignored it and granted a right-to-sue letter.

Then the company, facing a trial in federal court, discovered the plaintiff’s mistake. It asked for dismissal based on the lapse, and it was initially granted. But the appeals court reversed, ruling that it was too late for the company to bring the matter up, and the company should have objected before the EEOC.

Bottom line: Courts prefer to decide EEOC cases on the merits, not technicalities: Title VII and ADA included.

Cite: Buck v. Hampton School District, No. 05-2373, 3rd Cir., 6/30/06.

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