Premature “Right to Sue” Letter Results in Dismissal of Race Discrimination an Retaliation Claims

In Fabor v. Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, 19-CV-1573S, 2021 WL 4060420 (W.D.N.Y. Sept. 7, 2021) – a race discrimination and retaliation case asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – the court discussed and applied the rules concerning the “administrative exhaustion” aspect of asserting a Title VII claim.

In sum, before asserting a Title VII discrimination or retaliation claim in federal court, an aggrieved party must first present and file a Charge of Discrimination with an administrative agency called the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Specifically, the court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that the EEOC’s Right to Sue Letter was premature.

From the decision:

While the EEOC regulation gives the Commission the discretion to issue an early Right to Sue notice where it concludes further proceedings could not be completed within 180 days, the absence in this case of that notice and a declaration from the Commission that it was unable to complete its processing within 180 days is fatal to Plaintiff’s claim. Plaintiff merely alleges general exhaustion of his administrative remedies and the issuance of the Right to Sue letter and later claims that the EEOC issued the Right to Sue letter of its own accord without stating why the EEOC otherwise issued that Right to Sue letter early. The Right to Sue notice itself might contain this information, but it is not part of this record. As a Motion to Dismiss, this Court must accept as true the facts alleged in the Complaint and any documents attached thereto. Without either the allegation (save the general assertion of exhaustion) or supporting documentation, there is no basis for accepting Plaintiff’s contentions that the Right to Sue letter was timely. [Citations omitted.]

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