Wednesday, July 05, 2006

employment - Title VII - verification of charge

Buck v. Hampton Township School District - 3d Circuit - June 30, 2006

Although Title VII, 42 USC 2000e-5, and supporting regulations, 42 CFR 1601.9, require a plaintiff to verify her charges before her employer gets notice of or must respond to the charge, the verification requirement is not jurisdictional.

In addition, where the employer responds to the merits of the charge before the EEOC -- including a detailed complaint signed by plaintiff's attorney -- without raising the failure of plaintiff herself to verify it and before the EEOC issues a right-to-sue letter, the employer has waived its right to assert that defense in a later federal court proceeding.

The verification requirement is mandatory, a required element of an EEOC charge, but it is not a jurisdictional prerequisite for suit in court, i.e., it does not divest a federal court of jurisdiction. The verification requirement is mean to protect employer's from having to respond to frivolous charges. When an employer files a response on the merits to an unverified charge, he forgoes the protection that the requirement affords.