Gabriele v. Chrysler Corp.

Decision Date07 April 1978
Docket NumberNo. 76-2265,76-2265
Citation573 F.2d 949
Parties17 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. 200, 16 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 8228 Clement GABRIELE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CHRYSLER CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit

William D. Haynes, V. Paul Donnelly, Haynes & Donnelly, Detroit, Mich., for plaintiff-appellant.

Keith A. Jenkins, William S. Hurst, Detroit, Mich., for defendant-appellee.

Before EDWARDS, CELEBREZZE and LIVELY, Circuit Judges.

CELEBREZZE, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant Clement Gabriele, a former employee of defendant-appellee Chrysler Corporation, filed an action in the district court alleging that his employment was terminated on the basis of age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-34. The district court granted Chrysler's motion for summary judgment based upon Gabriele's failure to timely file an age discrimination complaint with the Michigan Civil Rights Commission (MCRC). 416 F.Supp. 666 (E.D.Mich.1976). The principal issue raised on appeal is whether timely resort to an agency charged with enforcement of state age discrimination laws is a prerequisite to filing suit under the ADEA in federal court. 1 We hold that the ADEA imposes no such prerequisite and reverse the judgment.

Gabriele was employed by Chrysler as an engineer from 1965 until he was laid off on May 9, 1975. On August 15, 1975, he filed a complaint with the MCRC alleging age discrimination. 2 On September 3, 1975, he was informed by the MCRC that it could not accept the complaint since it was not filed within ninety days of the alleged discriminatory act, as then required by Michigan law. 3 On November 6, 1975, he filed an action in the district court, alleging that the sixty-day advance notice of intent to sue, required by 29 U.S.C. § 626(d), had been given to the Secretary of Labor, which Chrysler does not contest. Thus, the notice to the Secretary of Labor was necessarily given within the 180-day period set forth in 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1). 4

The district court held that this largely uncontested procedural history deprived it of jurisdiction since it read 29 U.S.C. § 633(b) 5 as mandating prior resort to an appropriate state agency before one could bring suit in federal court. It relied heavily upon cases which have held that provisions of the ADEA should be construed consistently with parallel language in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Noting that 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(c), 6 a Title VII provision parallel to § 633(b), has usually been interpreted to require prior resort to an appropriate state agency before a charge can be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the district court imposed a similar requirement on ADEA suits. The court also relied upon cases from this Court which it read as making a timely filing of notice of intent to sue with the Secretary of Labor, § 626(d), a jurisdictional prerequisite to an ADEA suit in federal court. The district court finally noted that Congress must have been aware that some states had shorter filing periods under their age discrimination laws than the 180-day federal period and must have tacitly approved them when enacting the ADEA. This was said to justify the holding that one must not only first file a complaint with the appropriate state agency, but that filing must also be timely under state law, in order to proceed in federal court. The district court was not persuaded by arguments that its holding effectively turned the state filing limit into the federal filing limit, even though the former was only one-half of the latter.

Our research discloses a Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision which addressed the narrow but important question presented herein. Goger v. H. K. Porter Co., 492 F.2d 13 (3d Cir. 1974). 7 In Goger, relied upon by the district court, the court held that although § 633(b)

does not require an aggrieved person to exhaust state remedies as a condition precedent to the institution of a federal suit, it does require that the State be given a threshold period of sixty days in which it may attempt to resolve the controversy, normally by voluntary compliance.

Id. at 15.

Its ratio decidendi was that § 633(b) was nearly identical to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(c)

and courts have repeatedly interpreted the latter as requiring that appropriate state agencies be given a prior opportunity to consider discrimination complaints before resorting to the federal courts.

Id. at 15-16 (footnote omitted).

The court could not find anything in the ADEA's legislative history to justify a different interpretation of § 633(b). The court held, however, that equitable considerations in that case excused the plaintiff's failure to resort to the appropriate state agency and the case was remanded to the district court for a hearing on the merits. 8

Judge Garth filed a concurring opinion in Goger in which he agreed that the case should be remanded for consideration of the merits of the complaint. He disagreed, however, that § 633(b)'s similarity to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(c) mandated construing the two statutes similarly. He concluded "there is no requirement that a plaintiff must first attempt to utilize available state remedies before filing suit under the 1967 Act." Id. at 17. He approved the position taken there by the Secretary of Labor as amicus curiae that resort to a state agency is completely optional and that § 633(b)'s sixty-day waiting period applies only if one has chosen to pursue state relief. 9

We agree with the reasoning of Judge Garth in Goger and reject the holding of the majority in that case. 10

This Court has recognized the parallels between the ADEA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 but has also cautioned against blindly applying Title VII reasoning and results to ADEA cases. Laugesen v. Anaconda Co.,510 F.2d 307, 311-12 (6th Cir. 1975). Transferring the construction of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(c) to § 633(b) is particularly inappropriate. 11 The two statutes are indeed very similar but neither is explicit on the question of whether resort to the appropriate state agency is required before beginning federal action. Most courts that have read § 2000e-5(c) as requiring such prior resort have done so because Title VII's legislative history is very clear on that point. Dubois v. Packard Bell Corp., 470 F.2d 973, 975 (10th Cir. 1972); Crosslin v. Mountain States Telephone & Telegraph Co., 422 F.2d 1028, 1030-31 (9th Cir. 1970), vacated and remanded, 400 U.S. 1004, 91 S.Ct. 562, 27 L.Ed.2d 618 (1971); EEOC v. Union Bank, 408 F.2d 867, 869-70 (9th Cir. 1968); Stebbins v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 382 F.2d 267, 268 (4th Cir. 1967), cert. den., 390 U.S. 910, 88 S.Ct. 836, 19 L.Ed.2d 880 (1968); Ethridge v. Rhodes, 268 F.Supp. 83, 89 (S.D.Ohio 1967). There is no similar legislative history accompanying § 633(b), so the rationale behind the prevailing interpretation of § 2000e-5(c) simply does not apply to § 633(b). Indeed there is legislative history suggesting that § 633(b) should be construed differently than § 2000e-5(c). A committee report accompanying the ADEA states that § 633 "provides for concurrent Federal and State actions . . . ," H.R.Rep.No. 805, 90th Cong., 1st Sess. (1967), reprinted in 1967 U.S.Code Cong. and Admin.News, pp. 2213, 2218 (emphasis added), indicating that complaints could originate in either state or federal fora. 12 This is, of course, far from a clear indication that Congress intended § 633(b) to be construed differently than § 2000e-5(c). Our review of the legislative history of the ADEA is only meant to point out the absence of the kind of clear legislative history supporting the construction generally given § 2000e-5(c), thus necessitating consideration of other factors to support our result.

The principal reason we perceive for construing § 633(b) differently than § 2000e-5(c) is found in the language of § 633(a). 13 That provision states that once action is commenced under the ADEA, it "supersede(s) any State action." Thus, even under Chrysler's view of this action, Gabriele could have totally cut off any state action he might have been required to initiate simply by waiting sixty days and beginning federal action. As Judge Garth said in Goger, we

do not believe that it was the intent of Congress to require, prior to the institution of a Federal action, the commencement of a State proceeding which, under § 633(b), need not be concluded and which in any event would be superseded by the filing of the Federal action under § 633(a).

492 F.2d at 18.

Moreover, § 633(a) has no parallel in Title VII. Title VII also does not require exhaustion of state remedies but only the initiation thereof, Crosslin v. Mountain States Tel. & Tel. Co., 422 F.2d 1028, 1031 n. 5 (9th Cir. 1970), but Title VII has no provision for superseding state proceedings merely by beginning federal action. Developments in the Law Employment Discrimination and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 84 Harv.L.Rev. 1109, 1212 (1971). The ADEA thus exhibits lesser deference to the states than does Title VII and gives us no compulsion to require state action as a prerequisite to an ADEA suit.

Another important distinction exists between § 633(b) and § 2000e-5(c). The latter states that "no charge may be filed" until after the sixty-day waiting period. This prevents all federal action during the waiting period, since filing of a charge with the EEOC is a prerequisite to a Title VII suit in federal court. The sixty-day period gives the appropriate state agency two months of exclusive jurisdiction over the discrimination allegation. Section 633(b), on the other hand, says "no suit may be brought" until after the sixty-day waiting period. This only prohibits the filing of a complaint in the district court and contemplates possible concurrent administrative action by the state agency and the Department of Labor. Bonham v....

To continue reading

Request your trial
23 cases
  • Holliday v. Ketchum, MacLeod & Grove, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • August 7, 1978
    ...does Title VII." Reich v. Dow Badiche Co., 575 F.2d at 377 (2d Cir. 1978) (Feinberg, J., dissenting); Accord, Gabriele v. Chrysler Corp., 573 F.2d 949, 954 (6th Cir. 1978). Second, even if Title VII procedures were relevant to the interpretation of the ADEA, which Lorillard holds they are n......
  • Curto v. Sears, Roebuck and Co.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • December 15, 1982
    ...Ciccone v. Textron, Inc., 616 F.2d 1216 (1st Cir.), vacated, 449 U.S. 914, 101 S.Ct. 311, 66 L.Ed.2d 143 (1980); Gabriele v. Chrysler Corp., 573 F.2d 949, 955 (6th Cir.1978), vacated, 442 U.S. 908, 99 S.Ct. 2819, 60 L.Ed.2d 273 (1979); Bonham v. Dresser Industries, Inc., 569 F.2d 187, 194 (......
  • Marshall v. American Motors Corp.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Western District of Michigan
    • September 20, 1979
    ...persons based on their ability rather than age.' 29 U.S.C. § 621(b), and is entitled to a liberal construction." Gabrielle v. Chrysler Corp., 573 F.2d 949, 954 (6th Cir. 1978), vacated, ___ U.S. ___, 99 S.Ct. 2819, 61 L.Ed.2d 273 (1979). Thus, neither precedent nor the regulation reasonably......
  • Oscar Mayer Co v. Evans
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • May 21, 1979
    ...of jurisdiction arising from failure to defer vacated; case remanded for consideration of stay pending deferral); Gabriele v. Chrysler Corp., 573 F.2d 949, 956 n. 18 (CA6 1978); Oubichon v. North American Rockwell Corp., 482 F.2d 569, 571 (CA9 1973); Parker v. General Telephone Co. of the N......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT