Stebbins v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company

Decision Date29 August 1967
Docket NumberNo. 11240.,11240.
Citation382 F.2d 267
PartiesEmmett J. STEBBINS, Appellant, v. NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

Emmett J. Stebbins (George D. Gates, Washington, D. C., on brief), pro se.

Joseph M. Roulhac, Baltimore, Md. (Wm. B. Somerville, and Smith, Somerville & Case, Baltimore, Md., on brief), for appellee.

Before SOBELOFF, BRYAN and WINTER, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5, the plaintiff, Emmett J. Stebbins, brought an action against the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company alleging that as a Negro, he was denied employment by the Company because of his race.1 The District Court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment and plaintiff appeals.

The facts are not in dispute and may be briefly summarized. The plaintiff applied to Nationwide for the position of claims adjuster. When his application was rejected, he filed a "Charge of Discrimination" with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on February 15, 1966.2 On March 2, 1966, the EEOC sent a letter to the plaintiff explaining that it was unable to accept jurisdiction of the matter until the Maryland Commission on Interracial Problems and Relations had been given an opportunity to act on the complaint.3 Mr. Stebbins was further advised that if at the end of 120 days the matter had not been resolved satisfactorily, or if the Maryland Commission terminated proceedings prior to the expiration of the 120-day period, he should again contact the EEOC.

The complaint was referred by the EEOC to the Maryland Commission, which investigated the charges, and on May 23, 1966, dismissed the complaint at staff level, on the ground that there was no "probable cause to believe that an act, or acts, of discrimination have occurred in this case." On July 22nd the state commission advised the EEOC of the dismissal of the charges and on August 8th, the EEOC sent a letter to the plaintiff requesting him to communicate with it by telephone.

The plaintiff made no further attempt to contact the EEOC, but on July 21st, filed the present suit in the District Court. Failing to hear from Stebbins within the period provided under Title VII, the EEOC closed out his case.4

Having reviewed the legislative history of the Act, as well as its language, we agree with the District Judge that the plaintiff could not bypass the federal agency and apply directly to the courts for relief. Congress established comprehensive and detailed procedures to afford the EEOC the opportunity to attempt by administrative action to conciliate and mediate unlawful employment practices with a view to obtaining voluntary compliance. The plaintiff must therefore seek his administrative remedies before instituting court action against the alleged discriminator.

The order of the District Court is

Affirmed.

1 § 2000e-5

"(e) If within thirty days after a charge is filed with the Commission * * *, the Commission has been unable to obtain voluntary compliance with this subchapter, the Commission shall so notify the person aggrieved and...

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    ...2670, 53 L.Ed.2d 268 (1977); Bowe v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 416 F.2d 711, 719 (7th Cir. 1969); Stebbins v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., 382 F.2d 267, 268 (4th Cir. 1967) (per curiam), cert. denied, 390 U.S. 910, 88 S.Ct. 836, 19 L.Ed.2d 880 (1968); Plummer v. Chicago Journeyman Plumbers......
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    ...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.......
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