Employees who claim discrimination sometimes fill out EEOC complaint forms before they hire an attorney. That means they often fail to correctly mark the boxes that indicate the type of discrimination they are alleging.
Fortunately, courts won’t allow claims for other forms of discrimination if an unchecked box on the form covered the claim the employee later asserts. That’s true even if the employee says the form was confusing for someone lacking legal training.
Recent case: Virginia sued her employer, alleging several types of bias, including religious discrimination. However, she didn’t mark the religious discrimination box on the EEOC complaint form. She asked the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to excuse her oversight because she was acting as her own lawyer.
The appeals court refused and tossed out her case. (Whitaker v. Nash County, et al., No. 12-2128, 4th Cir., 2013)