2d Circuit: Defendant Has Burden on “Administrative Exhaustion” For Title VII Employment Discrimination Claims

The law is well-settled that in order to file a claim for employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in federal court, a plaintiff “must first pursue available administrative remedies and file a timely complaint with the [U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission].” See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e–5(e) and (f). This process is known as “exhausting administrative remedies”, or “administrative exhaustion.”

Recently, in Hardaway v. Hartford Public Works Department, 879 F.3d 486 (2d Cir. Jan. 12, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit squarely held – for the first time –  “that the burden of pleading and proving Title VII exhaustion lies with defendants and operates as an affirmative defense.”

The court reversed the judgment of the district court that held otherwise.

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