452 F.2d 889 (2nd Cir. 1971), 175, Voutsis v. Union Carbide Corp.

Docket Nº:175, 71-1359.
Citation:452 F.2d 889
Party Name:Marina VOUTSIS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. UNION CARBIDE CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:December 03, 1971
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Page 889

452 F.2d 889 (2nd Cir. 1971)

Marina VOUTSIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,



No. 175, 71-1359.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

December 3, 1971

Argued Oct. 26, 1971.

Page 890

Arthur S. Olick, New York City (David S. Lande, Kreindler, Relkin, Olick & Goldberg, New York City, of counsel), for plaintiff-appellant.

William C. Treanor, New York City (Richard P. Lawlor, New York City, of counsel), for defendant-appellee.

Page 891

John deJ. Pemberton, Jr., Deputy Gen. Counsel, Washington, D. C. (Stanley P. Hebert, Gen. Counsel, Julia P. Cooper, Chief, Appellate Section, John F. Goemaat, Atty., E.E.O.C., Washington, D.C., of counsel), for intervenor Equal Employment Opportunity Comm.

Before LUMBARD, FEINBERG and OAKES, Circuit Judges.

OAKES, Circuit Judge.

Appellant, Marina Voutsis, a former employee of appellee, Union Carbide, appeals from the dismissal of her complaint charging appellee with sex discrimination. The summary judgment dismissal was for failure to state a claim because appellant had filed her complaint with intervenor United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (hereinafter EEOC) too soon, that is, before the expiration of the 60-day period prescribed for deferral to state administrative and judicial proceedings in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(b), and on the further ground that she had foreclosed federal action by electing to pursue her state remedies by entering into, and was bound by, "a settlement" with Union Carbide in the state proceedings. The opinion below, reaffirmed in a rehearing and reported at 321 F.Supp. 830, 834 (S.D.N.Y.1970), relied on Washington v. Aerojet-General Corp., 282 F.Supp. 517 (C.D.Cal.1968), and on Love v. Pullman Co., 430 F.2d 49, aff'd on rehearing, 430 F.2d at 56-58 (10th Cir. 1970), cert. granted, 401 U.S. 907, 91 S.Ct. 873, 27 L.Ed.2d 805 (1971).

The act of Congress here involved is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the "Equal Employment Opportunities" subchapter of the Act. The enforcement provisions of the Act contained in Section 706, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(b), provide in pertinent part:

In the case of an alleged unlawful employment practice occurring in a State, or political subdivision of a State, which has a State or local law prohibiting the unlawful employment practice alleged and establishing or authorizing a State or local authority to grant or seek relief from such practice or to institute criminal proceedings with respect thereto upon receiving notice thereof, no charge may be filed under subsection (a) of this section by the person aggrieved before the expiration of sixty days after proceedings have been commenced under the State or local law, unless such proceedings have been earlier terminated. . . .

The rather stormy Senate debate 1 leading up to the passage of the Act made it plain that, as a compromise, 2 Congress

Page 892

was seeking "to give States . . . a reasonable opportunity to act under State law before the commencement of any Federal proceedings by individuals who alleged discrimination." 3 A search of the debates, however, has failed to shed any light on the question whether the words "no charge may be filed" were intended to be construed literally as the trial court felt bound to do, or whether a more reasonable construction was intended, requiring only that federal authorities defer to state proceedings for a limited period of time in order to give the state or local agency "an opportunity to handle the problem under State or local law." 4

We agree with Judge Fahy, dissenting in Love v. Pullman Co., supra, 430 F.2d at 54, and with District Judge Mac-Bride, in Antonopulos v. Aerojet-General Corp., 295 F.Supp. 1390, 1395 (E.D.Cal.1968), that the intent of Title VII is remedial and that plaintiffs under it should not be held accountable for a procedural prescience that would have made a Baron Parke happy or a Joseph Chitty proud. See also Local 5, IBEW v. EEOC, 398 F.2d 248, 249 (3rd Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 393 U.S. 1021, 89 S.Ct. 628, 21 L.Ed.2d 565 (1969).

Our conclusion that the complaint was properly filed pursuant to the statute is made easier by the EEOC regulation. 5 Under the regulation, a copy of a complaint filed prematurely with the Commission is promptly transmitted to the appropriate local or state agency, 6 while the complaint itself is held by the EEOC until termination of the local or state proceedings or the lapse of the 60-day statutory waiting period, whichever occurs first, and then it is considered to be filed. An interpretation of this nature, made by the agency charged with Title VII enforcement, is to be accorded...

To continue reading