U.S. Supreme Court Rules Employee May Proceed with Title VII Claim Despite Not Fulfilling EEOC Filing Obligation

June 03, 2019

The general rule is that a federal discrimination claim should be dismissed unless a timely charge was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Whether that statutory requirement was jurisdictional (and could not be waived) or procedural (and must be presented to the Court in a timely manner or the defense is waived) was subject to judicial disagreement. The Supreme Court ruled that Title VII’s charge-filing requirement is not jurisdictional; it is procedural. Therefore, even though Title VII requires that a plaintiff file an administrative charge before filing a lawsuit, a case will not be dismissed unless the employer raises that objection in its Answer or by motion early in the case. In effect, assert the defense or forfeit it.