Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court held in
Fort Bend County v. Davis
that the filing of a Charge with the EEOC, or a similar state deferral agency, is not a jurisdictional prescription to the filing of a lawsuit under Title VII.
This does not mean that a plaintiff does not need to file a Charge before filing suit. Rather, it means that if a plaintiff fails to do so, the defendant must object to this failure in a timely manner. In the past, defendants could argue that the failure to file a Charge was a jurisdictional prerequisite to filing suit at any time during the litigation and ask that the Title VII claims be thrown out.
Supreme Court’s Decision
In the Davis case, the Court held that because the Defendant did not raise the argument that the Plaintiff had not timely filed a Charge until years into the litigation, the Defendant had waived any objection to the Plaintiff’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Unfortunately, the Court did not indicate a deadline by which such a defense must be raised.