Stokes Lawrence Employment Group Notches Another Win Against EEOC Claims

Jun 17, 2013

Related Practices: Agriculture and Employment

The Stokes Lawrence Employment practice has marked another win against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claims. In a Title VII employment case filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, a Stokes Lawrence team, including Brendan Monahan, Beth Joffe, Justo Gonzalez and Olivia Gonzalez, obtained a favorable summary judgment ruling on behalf of two agricultural clients facing EEOC claims of discrimination. This is the second time the court has ruled against the EEOC on this issue and this time it had broader implications.

Previously the court ruled on a successful motion to dismiss that the EEOC was bound by the 300-day statute of limitations to file charges of discrimination as required by Title VII, a federal anti-discrimination law. As it has done in many cases, the EEOC maintained that it is not bound by the 300-day requirement. It then disregarded the earlier ruling and disclosed hundreds of claimants who worked outside the time limit. Upon learning this information, the defendants confronted the EEOC and asked for confirmation that it would not seek relief on behalf of these claimants. The EEOC took the position that it could still seek individual injunctive relief, if not monetary relief, on the claimants’ behalf. The defendants responded by filing a motion for summary judgment.

The court agreed with the defendants and confirmed that the EEOC is bound by the applicable statute of limitations and may not seek any relief on behalf of time-barred individuals. The court also set a firm deadline by which the EEOC could identify the claimants on whose behalf it seeks relief, which goes against the EEOC’s historical practice of revealing claimants throughout discovery and sometimes up to and including during trial.

This is the third victory against an EEOC claim for the Stokes Lawrence Employment group in recent months. In April, the firm successfully won a unanimous jury verdict against claims of sexual harassment on behalf of its client Evans Fruit. The firm also successfully achieved summary judgment for Evans against claims that the company had retaliated against 10 former employees who were assisting in an EEOC investigation.