Employers Cannot Challenge EEOC Pre-Litigation Conciliation Efforts

Title VII requires the EEOC to try to eliminate “. . . alleged unlawful employment practice[s] by informal methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion.”  The EEOC is also allowed to sue an employer for discrimination if it “has been unable to secure from the respondent a conciliation agreement acceptable to the Commission.”

The Seventh Circuit recently ruled that an employer cannot challenge, and the Court cannot review, the adequacy of the EEOC’s informal pre-litigation efforts.  The Court held that the EEOC has complete discretion to engage in conciliation efforts, and that employers cannot seek to dismiss EEOC lawsuits on the grounds that the EEOC’s pre-suit conciliation efforts were lacking.

To the extent Title VII has been interpreted to require conciliation as a pre-requisite to a lawsuit by the EEOC, the Seventh Circuit’s ruling effectively removes any such requirement, at least in the Seventh Circuit. http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/12-20-13b.cfm


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