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State lawsuit finished? Now brace for federal case

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Don’t assume case is over after state court case ends. A recent case shows that even after a decade of litigation, the former employee may add a second federal lawsuit.

Recent case: Ezekiel, who is black, was fired from his job in 2002. He filed a dual complaint with the Penn­­syl­­vania Human Rights Commission (PHRC) and the EEOC shortly after. Ten years of litigation followed, with the PHRC finally determining that Ezekiel had been discriminated against under state law. He was awarded damages.

Meanwhile, in 2014 the EEOC finally gave Ezekiel a right-to-sue letter under federal law. He did sue, and the employer argued he could not re-litigate the claim.

The court disagreed, noting that the laws he sought to enforce were independent of each other. (Wilson v. Concern Professional Services, No. 4:14-CV-1409, MD PA, 2015)

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