Vuyanich v. Republic National Bank of Dallas, Civ. A. No. CA 3-6982-E.

Decision Date12 March 1976
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. CA 3-6982-E.
Citation409 F. Supp. 1083
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Texas


Joann Peters, Welz, Anderson & Peters, Dallas, Tex., for plaintiff.

J. Carlisle DeHay, Jr., Gardere, Porter & DeHay, Dallas, Tex., for defendant.


MAHON, District Judge.

This is an action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. "the Act", and under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, alleging racial and sexual discrimination in employment. Defendant has filed a motion to strike Plaintiff's allegations with respect to sex discrimination

Plaintiff, a Negro woman, was dismissed from the employ of Defendant and subsequently filed written charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "EEOC". The Commission found reasonable cause to believe that Defendant had committed a violation of the Act and issued Plaintiff a right-to-sue letter. Plaintiff properly filed this action with the Court within the time period required by the Act.

In her charge with the EEOC, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant had discriminated against her, in violation of the Act, by discharging her because of racial prejudice. In her sworn charge of August 13, 1969, Plaintiff further stated that:

a) She was the only Negro in her department.
b) She and two Caucasian females, also new employees undertaking training, were instructed to do the same type of work but after being trained, the two Caucasians did not want to do their share of the work load.
c) She informed her immediate Supervisor, who agreed with her that the two Caucasian female co-workers should help with the work load.
d) The Supervisor talked to the two co-workers several times about the matter.
e) About a month after she had been working for the Respondent, her Supervisor, who knew of her dating a Caucasian told her that the world was not ready for mixed marriages.
f) She married a Caucasian on June 28, 1969.
g) On July 23, 1969, when her husband went to take her to lunch, she introduced him to the Supervisors of her department.
h) The following morning, she was called into conference by her Supervisor and was told that she was not suitable for the job because of a "personality clash" with her co-workers in her department.
i) Her Supervisor also told her that she probably did not need a job anyway because her husband was a Caucasian.

District Director's Findings of Fact, EEOC, Dallas District Office, Vuyanich v. Republic National Bank, May 23, 1972, at 2 "EEOC/DDFF".

The District Director of the Dallas District Office of the EEOC made, among others, the following findings of fact:

a) It is undisputed that the reason for discharging the Charging Party was because of obvious personality conflicts between the Charging Party and two Caucasian female co-workers, all new employees and trainees in the position of Contact Clerk, Money Order Section.
b) At least two presently employed (at the time of the investigation) and one former Negro employee of the Respondent confirm that one of the Charging Party's Caucasian co-workers, Caucasian A, was racially prejudiced and did not like working with Negroes.
c) The Respondent Supervisor was aware of the problem, but did not take affirmative steps by means of transferring the Charging Part or the Caucasian to another job, but instead, to solve the problem, chose to discharge the Charging Party.


Defendant has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's allegations as to discrimination on the basis of sex, on the ground that the charge filed with and investigated by the EEOC was based entirely on racial discrimination.

The law in the Fifth Circuit regarding variance between charges and complaints in actions under the Act is governed by Sanchez v. Standard Brands, Inc., 431 F.2d 455 (5th Cir. 1970) "Sanchez", recently reaffirmed and elucidated in Gamble v. Birmingham So. RR. Co., 514 F.2d 678 (5th Cir. 1975) "Gamble".

In Sanchez, Plaintiff had originally charged sex discrimination, but the EEOC investigation revealed national origin discrimination. The complaint in federal court included an allegation of national origin discrimination. Citing King v. Georgia Power Co., 295 F.Supp. 943 (N.D.Ga.1968) "King", the Sanchez court found "sufficient continuity running through the original charge and the amended charge to the judicial proceedings which followed" to allow the complaint to stand. Sanchez, 431 F.2d at 465.

We found in Sanchez that the purpose of the charge is to trigger the investigatory and conciliatory procedures of the EEOC. It was logical to limit the scope of the civil action to the scope of the EEOC investigation "which can reasonably be expected to grow out of the charge of discrimination." Sanchez v. Standard Brands, Inc., supra, at 466. We further emphasized the importance of the Commission's role in obtaining voluntary compliance. On the other hand, we also emphasized our reluctance to allow procedural technicalities to bar claims under the Act, id. at 461, 465, and that "the scope of an EEOC complaint should not be strictly interpreted." Id. at 465; see also Tipler v. E. I. duPont, 6 Cir. 1971, 443 F.2d 125, 131.

Gamble, 514 F.2d at 687-688. The Sanchez court held that allegations in the complaint filed with the federal district court "may encompass any kind of discrimination like or related to allegations contained in the charge and growing out of such allegation during the pendency of the case before the Commission. emphasis added." Sanchez, 431 F.2d at 466; King, 295 F.Supp. at 947.

While Sanchez involved a situation where an EEOC investigation, and a complaint based thereon, exceeded the scope of the original charge to the EEOC, the court in Gamble was faced with a complaint that exceeded both the charge and the EEOC investigation. Gamble was a suit by a class of Black switchmen against a defendant railroad company. The gravamen of the plaintiffs' claim was that they had consistently been denied the right to qualify as conductors, and this complaint to the EEOC was so limited. The EEOC investigation was also limited to an investigation of whether the defendant violated the Act "by denying promotional opportunity to negro switchmen, as alleged." Gamble, 514 F.2d at 687. Before the district court, however, the plaintiffs also complained that they were denied promotion to supervisors. The district court held that supervisory promotions where outside the permissible scope of the trial. The evidence adduced at trial, nevertheless, showed that virtually all supervisors were chosen from the conductor roster. The Fifth Circuit, in reversing the district court, held that "charges are to be liberally construed, . . . so the complaint that `I was not allowed to promote to conductor' implicitly includes the complaint that `I was not allowed to promote to supervisor,' since supervisors are chosen from the ranks of conductor." Id. at 688.

The supervisor complaint is certainly "like or related to" the conductor complaint and an investigation of the supervisor situation could reasonably be expected to grow from the original complaint. Nevertheless, the EEOC apparently did not in fact investigate beyond the conductor charge. This, says the Railroad, limits the permissible scope of the complaint in the federal court.
The Railroad further urges that it has a right to attempt conciliation on the supervisor question. As we have indicated, the statutory scheme contemplates conciliation. But we have clearly held that conciliation efforts by the EEOC are not a jurisdictional prerequisite to a Title VII suit. We have also held that a plaintiff may maintain a suit even when the EEOC has found no reasonable cause to believe discrimination has occurred. Therefore, although conciliation is encouraged, it is not an inalienable right of a defendant, especially where, as here, conciliation attempts with the defendant on a similar question failed. citations and quotation omitted.


The Fifth Circuit in Gamble went on to discuss other policies besides conciliation that should be considered. These policies include the protection of the equality of opportunity among all employees and prospective employees, the fact that the charging party may be ignorant of or unable to thoroughly describe the discriminatory practices to which they are subjected, and the judicial economy in not requiring the plaintiffs to go back to the EEOC to begin anew with their additional allegations.

The interpreting the Sanchez doctrine, this Court must also be ever mindful of the considerations and guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973) "Green". In that case, the Supreme Court held that the absence of an EEOC finding of reasonable cause did not bar a suit in federal court under the Act.

Respondent satisfied the jurisdictional prerequisites to a federal action (i) by filing timely charges of employment discrimination with the Commission and (ii) by receiving and acting upon the Commission's statutory notice of the right to sue, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-5(a) and 2000e-5(e). The Act does not restrict a complainant's right to sue to those charges as to which the Commission has made findings of reasonable cause, and we will not engraft on the statute a requirement which may inhibit the review of claims of employment discrimination in the federal courts. The Commission itself does not consider the absence of a "reasonable cause" determination as providing employer immunity from similar charges in a federal court, 29 CFR § 1601.30, and the courts of appeal have held that, in view of the large volume of complaints before the Commission and the nonadversary character of many of its proceedings, "court actions under Title VII are de novo proceedings and . . . a Commission `no reasonable cause' finding does not bar a lawsuit

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