Sexual Harassment Claim Administratively Exhausted at the EEOC, Court Rules

In Parms v. Morgan Truck Body, LLC, Case No. 5:22-cv-2095, 2023 WL 3763578 (N.D. Ohio June 1, 2023), the court held that plaintiff’s EEOC charge sufficiently set forth a claim of sexual harassment and, thus, that that claim was administratively exhausted.

The court explained:

Generally, a plaintiff cannot bring claims in a lawsuit that were not included in [her] EEOC charge. But omission of a formal allegation in the EEOC filing is not always a fatal mistake. If an employer’s potential liability for an alleged claim could reasonably be expected to grow out of the EEOC charge, then the district court would err by dismissing on this basis. Put differently, if a plaintiff included some statement or reference in her EEOC filing that would have prompted the EEOC to investigate her uncharged claim, then she was not precluded from suing on that claim. This is a low hurdle.

Applying this standard, the court held that the plaintiff’s EEOC filing, which included an attached notice of claims, “contained sufficient reference to sexual harassment to prompt Morgan to mention it in its response to the charge and, therefore, would have prompted the EEOC to investigate that claim” and that plaintiff administratively exhausted her sexual harassment claims, warranting denial of defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.

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