Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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Mach Mining, LLC v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: June 30, 2014
Case #: 13-1019
Court Below: 738 F.3d 171 (7th Cir. 2013)
Full Text Opinion: http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2013/D12-20/C:13-2456:J:Hamilton:aut:T:fnOp:N:1262102:S:0

Employment Law: Whether, and to what extent, a court may enforce the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's mandatory duty to conciliate discrimination claims before filing suit.

Respondent brought suit against Petitioner for sex discrimination in hiring. Petitioner sought dismissal on the ground that Respondent did not engage in good faith conciliation before bringing the suit, and Respondent moved for summary judgement on Petitioner’s conciliation defense. The district court denied the motion for summary judgement, but approved the issue of implied affirmative defense of failure to conciliate for interlocutory appeal.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s denial of the motion for summary judgement, and held against Petitioner’s defense on interlocutory appeal. The Seventh Circuit reasoned that affirmative defenses are only available for disputed issues of fact or law, and that failure to conciliate is a procedural question that does not speak to issues of fact or law.

Petitioner appealed and the Supreme Court granted certiorari to address a circuit split on Respondent’s statutory obligation to conciliate.

Petitioner argues that all other appeals court circuits enforce good faith conciliation efforts as a precondition for employment discrimination lawsuits, and further, while there is no explicit conciliation precondition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1), the Supreme Court has followed precondition as a general rule.