Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 11, 2019 – On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in the case Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis. The case discusses the requirement that an employee who believes they have been the victim of discrimination first file a claim with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) before filing a case in court. Ultimately, the Court concluded that this rule, while mandatory, is not jurisdictional. By that, the Court means that a plaintiff’s failure to file a claim with the EEOC will not deprive the court of the power to hear the case and a plaintiff’s case will only be dismissed if the defendant makes a timely objection.
The Court’s decision does not mean that employees do not need to file a claim with the EEOC before filing a case in federal court, only that an employee’s failure to do so does not deprive the court of jurisdiction to hear the case.
In this case, a female employee properly filed a retaliation claim against her employer with the EEOC. While the EEOC was investigating her claim, the woman was terminated after she did not come to work on a Sunday, and instead attended an event for her church. The woman informally “amended” her complaint by jotting down an additional claim of religious discrimination on an intake form.
Initially, the woman’s employer did not mention the woman’s failure to file her claim of religious discrimination with the EEOC. Years into the litigation, the employer argued that the rule requiring plaintiffs file with the EEOC was jurisdictional, and the plaintiff’s failure to file with the EEOC required the Court to dismiss her case.
The Supreme Court disagreed with the employer, holding that the rule was not jurisdictional. The Court went on to explain that by failing to raise the issue in a timely manner, the defendant forfeited the right to object on appeal.
Austin employment attorney Gregory Jordan reminds employees that the Court’s ruling in no way changes the requirement that any Texas discrimination claim must first be filed with the EEOC or the Yexas Workforce Commission(TWC). Attorney Jordan notes that the situation presented by the Davis case is unique, and that typically a case will be dismissed if an employee fails to file their claim with the EEOC or the TWC.
The Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan is an Austin employment law firm that represents both employees and employers in a wide variety of Texas employment issues. Contact the Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan at http://www.theaustintriallawyer.com/.
Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan
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