Daily Labor Report® is the objective resource the nation’s foremost labor and employment professionals read and rely on, providing reliable, analytical coverage of top labor and employment...
Oct. 27 — A fired employee alleging discrimination must request relief such as reinstatement, back pay or damages to file a “charge” that satisfies the Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled ( Carlson v. Christian Bros. Servs. , 2016 BL 357914, 7th Cir., No. 15-3807, 10/27/16 ).
The ruling also affects workers alleging violations of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other federal anti-bias laws that require them to file charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or an equivalent state or local agency within 300 days of the employer’s alleged discrimination.
Jacquelyn Carlson, a former Christian Brothers Services customer service representative, didn’t file a timely ADA charge because the “complainant information sheet” she submitted to an Illinois state agency didn’t ask for any remedy for the alleged disability bias.
The EEOC in an amicus brief argued Carlson’s completed form should be considered a charge because it set out the elements of a discrimination claim.
But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a charge under federal anti-discrimination laws must include a request for remedial action, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit said Oct. 27.
Carlson argued the form she filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights was a charge that satisfied the ADA’s 300-day filing deadline because it “authorized the EEOC to look into the discrimination alleged.”
But that’s “a far cry” from a charge as the word is commonly understood, Judge Richard A. Posner wrote.
“A charge is the administrative equivalent of a complaint filed in court,” he said.
The information sheet submitted to the state agency can’t be deemed a charge “unless it asks for relief” from the former employer, the court said.
Carlson’s form did say the state agency would cross-file a complainant’s “charge” with the EEOC as part of a work-sharing arrangement.
But the form indicated in capital letters “THIS IS NOT A CHARGE” and said that if the state agency accepted the fired worker’s claim, “we will send you a charge form for your signature.” Some courts have held a form doesn’t need to be labeled a “charge” to qualify as a charge if it contains all the required information.
Carlson’s information sheet “was merely a prelude to a charge and not the charge itself,” Posner wrote in an opinion joined by Judges Joel M. Flaum and Daniel A. Manion.
The EEOC argued that by filing the form, Carlson consented to disclosure of her personal information to Christian Brothers Services. That shows she wanted remedial action, the commission said.
But the form explicitly stated that “if” the Illinois agency “takes a charge” based on the information provided, then the worker consented to disclose her identity and personal information to her former employer, the court said.
Carlson eventually filed a charge, but it was 398 days after her February 2012 termination, too late under the ADA.
“She can’t plead ignorance of legal technicalities, because she was represented by counsel throughout,” the court said.
Gomberg & Associates in Chicago represented Carlson. Jackson Lewis P.C. represented Christian Brothers Services.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kevin McGowan in Washington at email@example.com
Text of the opinion is available at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/JACQUELYN_M_CARLSON_Plaintiff_Appellant_v_CHRISTIAN_BROTHERS_SERV.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)