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Supremes: Courts may review EEOC for good faith

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled April 29 that courts have the authority to review whether the EEOC made a good-faith attempt to conciliate discrimination complaints before suing employers, as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The unanimous decision in Mach Mining v. EEOC is a limited win for employers.

Illinois-based Mach Mining argued that the EEOC did not negotiate in good faith during its conciliation process and that, as a result, a sexual discrimination case against the firm should be tossed.

A federal district court denied Mach’s request, but agreed to let the courts decide if an employer could use the EEOC’s bad faith as a defense. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately ruled that nothing in the Civil Rights Act allows an employer to challenge the EEOC’s sincerity during the conciliation process. Other circuits have ruled that the EEOC’s actions may be subject to varying degrees of judicial review.

The Supreme Court’s decision resolves that split. The underlying sex discrimination case goes back to a lower court for litigation.

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