Love v. Pullman Company United States v. Pullman Company 8212 5033, 70 8212 37

Decision Date17 January 1972
Docket NumberNos. 70,s. 70
Citation92 S.Ct. 616,404 U.S. 522,30 L.Ed.2d 679
PartiesEarl A. LOVE, Petitioner, v. The PULLMAN COMPANY. UNITED STATES et al., Petitioners, v. The PULLMAN COMPANY. —5033, 70—37
CourtU.S. Supreme Court
Syllabus

Procedure whereby the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), after having received a written charge from a complainant of discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, orally referred it to the appropriate state agency, waited until that agency had terminated its jurisdiction, and then formally filed the charge on behalf of the complainant without having obtained an additional written charge within 30 days of the termination of the state proceedings held to satisfy the requirements of § 706(b) and (d) of the Act, which have the purpose of affording state agencies prior opportunity to consider discrimination complaints and ensuring their prompt filing and disposition by the EEOC on exhaustion of the state remedy. Pp. 523 527.

10 Cir., 430 F.2d 49, reversed.

Hugh J. McClearn, Denver, Colo., for petitioner in No. 70 5033.

Lawrence G. Wallace, Washington, D.C., for petitioners in No. 70—37.

Edward C. Eppich, Denver, Colo., for respondent.

Mr. Justice STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

A person claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253,1 may not maintain a suit for redress in federal district court until he has first unsuccessfully pursued certain avenues of potential administrative relief. In this litigation the petitioner employee filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, alleging that his employer, the respondent Pullman Company, had engaged in employment practices violative of Title VII. The court dismissed the complaint, holding that the statutory prerequisites to the maintenance of the suit had not been met. The Court of Appeals affirmed, 10 Cir., 430 F.2d 49, and we granted certiorari to consider the question of federal law presented. 401 U.S. 907, 91 S.Ct. 873, 27 L.Ed.2d 805.

The petitioner was employed by the Pullman Company as a 'porter-in-charge.' In 1963 and again in 1965, he complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, alleging that the porters-in-charge, most of whom, like the petitioner, were Negroes, performed the same functions as conductors, most of whom were white, yet at lower pay. The proceedings of the Colorado Commission terminated in 1965 without reaching a resolution of the controversy satisfactory to the petitioner. On May 23, 1966, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received from the petitioner a 'letter of inquiry' which complained of this same alleged discrim- ination. In accord with its usual practice,2 the Commission treated this letter as a complaint but did not formally file it. Instead to insure compliance with Title VII's procedural requirements, EEOC orally advised the Colorado Commission that it had received a complaint from the petitioner. By letter of June 1, 1966, the Colorado Commission informed EEOC that it waived the opportunity to take further action on the petitioner's grievance, and the EEOC then proceeded with its own investigation. The investigation resulted in a finding of probable cause to believe that the charge of discrimination was true, but the EEOC was unsuccessful in its attempts to obtain Pullman's voluntary compliance. This lawsuit followed.

The basis for the holding of the Court of Appeals was its finding that the charge of discrimination had not been 'filed' with EEOC by the petitioner in conformity with the requirements of the Act.3 Two such requirements are critical here. Section 706(b) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e—5(b), provides that where there exists a state or local agency authorized to grant or seek relief against employment discrimination, 'no charge may be filed (with the EEOC) 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 . . ..' Section 706(d), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e—5(d), requires that the complaint to the EEOC 'shall be filed by the person aggrieved within two hundred and ten days after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred, or within thirty days after receiving notice that the State or local agency has terminated the proceedings under the State or local law, whichever is earlier . . ..'

The EEOC takes the position that these requirements were fulfilled by the procedure followed in this case, whereby a charge filed with the EEOC prior to exhaustion of the state remedy was referred by it to the state agency, and then formally filed once the state agency indicated that it would decline to take action. The Court of Appeals, on the other hand, regarded this procedure as a 'manipulation of the filing date,' not contemplated or permitted by the statute or by the EEOC regulations then in force.

We hold that the filing procedure followed here fully complied with the intent of the Act, and we thus reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals. Nothing in the Act suggests that the state proceedings may not be initiated by the EEOC acting on behalf of the complainant rather than by the complainant himself, nor is there any requirement that the complaint to the state agency be made in writing rather than by oral referral.4 Further, we cannot agree with the respondent's claim that the EEOC may not properly hold a complaint in 'suspended animation,' automatically filing it upon termination of the state proceedings.5

We see no reason why further action by the aggrieved party should be required. The procedure complies with the purpose both of § 706(b), to give state agencies a prior opportunity to consider discrimination complaints, and of § 706(d), to ensure expedition in the filing and handling of those complaints. The respondent makes no showing of prejudice to its interests. To require a second 'filing' by the aggrieved party after termination of state proceedings would serve no purpose other than the creation of an additional procedural technicality.6...

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663 cases
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    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Connecticut
    • September 21, 1978
    ...the factors that militate toward an equitable modification are entitled to considerable weight. Cf. Love v. Pullman Co., 404 U.S. 522, 526-527, 92 S.Ct. 616, 30 L.Ed.2d 679 (1972) (Title VII); Smith v. Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co., 419 F.Supp. 770, 777 (D.N.J. The equitable factors in this case......
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    ...that there is no requirement that the plaintiff herself have filed such a charge with the MCHR. See Love v. Pullman, 404 U.S. 522, 525, 92 S.Ct. 616, 618, 30 L.Ed.2d 679 (1972); Hall v. Board of County Commissioners, 509 F.Supp. 841, 844-46 (D.Md.1981). There is no question as to the timeli......
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    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Texas Employment Law. Volume 1 Part V. Discrimination in employment
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    ...employment discrimination complaints before the EEOC is required to process and investigate such complaints. See Love v. Pullman Co. , 404 U.S. 522, 525-26 (1972). Whenever a charge is filed with the EEOC before the initial 60-day period has elapsed, the federal agency normally must suspend......
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    ...employment discrimination complaints before the EEOC is required to process and investigate such complaints. See Love v. Pullman Co., 404 U.S. 522, 525-26 Whenever a charge is filed with the EEOC before the initial 60-day period has elapsed, the federal agency normally must suspend processi......
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    ...Mohasco Corp. v. Silver, 447 U.S. 807, 826 (1980) (internal quotation marks omitted). 79 . Id. at 816 n.19 (quoting Love v. Pullman Co., 404 U.S. 522, 527 (1972)); see also McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 798–99 (1973) (refusing to allow the court to read in a requirement th......
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    • Georgia State University College of Law Georgia State Law Reviews No. 18-3, March 2002
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