When the EEOC decides that a discrimination claim is valid and orders a remedy, that should signal that the case is about to be put to bed. If you pay up what the agency says you owe, the employee can’t turn around and sue for additional money unless he also rejects the rest of the settlement.
Recent case: John Carver worked as an assistant U.S. attorney until he accepted an early retirement buyout in 1994. Then Carver saw an announcement for an open position back with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and applied.
Carver didn’t get the job despite his experience. Instead, a much younger attorney was picked. Carver filed an EEOC complaint alleging age discrimination.
The EEOC sided with Carver and determined that his former agency owed him a job, plus back wages of $260,000.
But Carver wanted more—specifically, the value of the vacation and sick time he would have accrued had he been hired at the time he applied.
Meanwhile, the agency offered Carver a comparable job, plus the cash the EEOC said it owed. Carver sued for the additional money.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the case, reasoning that Carver either had to litigate the age discrimination case all over again in federal court or take the settlement. He couldn’t take some of the money and sue for more. (Carver v. Holder, No. 09-35084, 9th Cir., 2010)