When the EEOC wants to take a discrimination case to court, it is required to try to settle the case first. That conciliation process is a two-way street. Employers can’t walk away from the process, expecting a court to dismiss a subsequent lawsuit because the agency didn’t try hard enough.
Recent case: The EEOC believed that United Road Towing illegally discriminated against disabled employees when it automatically terminated them after using up their medical leave and refused to consider rehiring them. The agency offered to settle the case for $2 million. United Road Towing balked and a lawsuit followed.
The company asked the court to toss out the case because the EEOC hadn’t acted in good faith. The court said both were at fault and ordered them to try again. (EEOC v. United Towing, No. 10-C-6259, ND IL, 2012)