WASHINGTON (CN) – The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 to let a FedEx worker pursue an age-discrimination claim against the company, despite mistakes made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC did not notify Patricia Kennedy’s employer of the complaint, as required by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The Act requires Kennedy to make a formal charge with the EEOC before filing a lawsuit, and the EEOC must notify the company, investigate the claim and try to resolve the issue outside court.
But the form Kennedy filed with the EEOC was not always considered a formal charge. The majority said that the form could be considered a formal charge and allowed Kennedy to proceed with her lawsuit.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented, arguing that the majority needed clearer guidelines.
“Given the court’s utterly vague criteria, whatever the agency later decides to regard as a charge is a charge – and the statutorily required notice to the employer and conciliation process will be evaded in the future as it has been in this case,” Thomas wrote.