Supreme Court Upholds Small Business Owner’s Right to Negotiate Before Getting Hit with Costly Legal Battle
The US Supreme Court today ruled that the EEOC must engage in conciliation before bringing an employer to court.
Washington, D.C., April 29, 2015 – The US Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) statutory obligation to make a good faith effort to promote voluntary compliance before filing suit will not only save employers a lot of pain and money, but all parties involved, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
“The law specifically requires the EEOC to make a good faith effort to resolve a dispute before slapping an employer with a costly lawsuit,” NFIB Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned said. “Small business owners do not have in-house counsel or the legal expertise to go to court every time someone accuses them of doing something wrong. They value having an arbiter to negotiate settlements outside of a courtroom.”
In the case of Mach Mining v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a woman complained to the EEOC that Mach Mining would not hire her because of her gender. The EEOC investigated and brought suit against the hiring practices of the mining company. Mach Mining argued that the EEOC did not fulfill its legal obligation of conciliation, or try to resolve the dispute against the employer, before filing a lawsuit. NFIB filed an amicus brief in support of Mach Mining arguing the EEOC has a legal obligation to engage in settlement discussions before filing a lawsuit and failure to conciliate is subject to judicial review.
“Going before a judge to resolve a disagreement should always be a last resort,” Harned continued. “We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s confirmation of the EEOC’s legal obligation to discuss settlement option before a lawsuit can be made.”