On September 24, 2007, People For the American Way Foundation, along with AARP, the National Employment Lawyers Association, the National Women's Law Center, the National Partnershipship for Women and Families, and the Asian American Justice Center, filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in the Supreme Court in support of the employees in Holowecki. We've previously written about this case, which is an important employment discrimination case that the Court has already agreed to hear this term.
Our brief explains that an employee who believes that she has been the victim of unlawful discrimination should not lose her right to sue her employer because the EEOC has not discharged its own administrative duties under the applicable federal anti-discrimination law. While this is indeed the rule as well as a basic concept of fairness, FedEx is arguing that a document filed by the employee with the EEOC containing all the required elements of a "charge" of discrimination (a document that must be filed before the employee can sue) cannot by definition be a "charge" because the EEOC failed to notify FedEx or attempt to resolve the matter. However, Congress placed the duty of taking those steps on the EEOC and not on the employee, and whether or not the EEOC carries out its duties is certainly not within the control of an employee. Read our brief here [PDF].