Age Discrimination Claims Dismissed For Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies at the EEOC

In Jenkins v. District of Columbia, No. 17-2730 (TSC), 2023 WL 4183795 (D.D.C. June 26, 2023), the court, inter alia, granted defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s age discrimination claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – for failure to exhaust administrative remedies at the EEOC.

The court summarized this requirement as follows:

Before filing a lawsuit under the ADA, Title VII, or ADEA, a plaintiff must exhaust her administrative remedies by filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Moreover, a lawsuit following an EEOC charge is limited in scope to claims that are like or reasonably related to the allegations of the charge and growing out of such allegations. While the boxes on the EEOC charge form aid a claimant in identifying the nature of her charge, a claimant is not necessarily limited to the boxes she selected if she provides the basis for her claim in her written explanation. The administrative charge requirement serves the important purposes of giving the charged party notice of the claim and narrowing the issues for prompt adjudication and decision the requirement of some specificity in a charge is not a mere technicality. [Cleaned up.]

Applying the law to the facts, the court explained:

Here, both Plaintiffs checked the box on the EEOC charge form for retaliation; neither mentioned age discrimination in their EEOC charges and none of their EEOC allegations support age discrimination claims. In October 2016, Jenkins filed a charge “alleging disparate treatment, intimation, and retaliation for sexual harassment.” Jenkins EEOC Charge of Discrimination at 1. Jenkins further alleged that DOC did not rehire him because of his “current OHR complaint and because as a Union Representative, [he] filed several complaints of sexual harassment on behalf of female employees against the [DOC].” Id. Similarly, Allison alleged in his November 2016 charge that DOC “failed to hire [him] based on [his] participation in a protected activity,” such as testifying in a sexual harassment class action against DOC. Allison EEOC Charge of Discrimination at 1. Consequently, Plaintiffs’ retaliation allegations cannot “reasonably be expected upon investigation” to lead to an age discrimination claim. Park, 71 F.3d at 909. [Cleaned up.]

Accordingly, it concluded that plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies for their ADEA age discrimination claims, and that dismissal of those claims was warranted.

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