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E. Notice to Charging Parties of Commission Suits

Prior to filing suit under any of the statutes the Commission enforces, a legal unit attorney should notify the charging party(ies) by telephone. In ADEA and EPA cases charging parties should be reminded that the Commission's suit will terminate their right to file a private action under those statutes.

Within a week of filing suit in Title VII and ADA cases, the legal unit attorney should send a letter to the charging party(ies), enclosing a copy of the filed complaint and explaining their statutory right to intervene in the action. The letter should describe the Commission's claims and, where applicable, the relief the Commission will be seeking for the charging parties, but should also explain that the agency's purpose in filing suit is to further the public interest in preventing employment discrimination and that it is possible the Commission's objectives and the charging parties' interests will diverge during the litigation. Although charging parties should not be encouraged to intervene, the letter should explain that if they do intervene they will be able to pursue individual relief separately if at any point in the litigation the agency's interests do diverge from theirs. The letter should also inform the charging parties that although they have a statutory right to intervene, the court could deny intervention if their request is made too long after the Commission's suit is filed. A model letter is attached in the appendix.

Related Resources on Web

Title Description and Web Address
ADA Text of Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Text of Title VII, a statute enforced by the EEOC. Title VII bars employment discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.

Model Letter Notifying
Charging Party of Commission Title VII/ADA Suit

[CP's name and address]

RE: [case name, civil action number, and court]

Dear [Mr./Ms. _____________________]

On [filing date] the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [or ADA] against [defendant's name] based upon the charge of employment discrimination you filed with the EEOC on [date]. The EEOC's suit alleges [claims in complaint]. The suit was filed in [court], and is styled [case name and civil action number]. A copy of EEOC's complaint is enclosed. Under section 706(f)(1) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1), you have a right to intervene as a party in the EEOC's suit and to be represented by your own attorney.

EEOC will be seeking the following individual relief for you in its suit against [defendant's name]: [relief sought for CP]. However, EEOC's primary purpose in filing this suit is to further the public interest in preventing employment discrimination. It is possible that at some point in the EEOC's prosecution of the suit, you will disagree with the agency's decisions regarding the relief to which you are entitled in the case, or with some other aspect of EEOC's litigation strategy. Because EEOC's first obligation is to the public interest, the agency may decide to act in a manner that you believe is against your individual interests. If you have intervened in the suit, you will be able pursue your individual interests separately if the EEOC's interests diverge from yours at any point.

You should try to make your decision regarding intervention fairly soon, because even though you have an unconditional right to intervene if you do so in a timely manner, the court can deny you the right to intervene if the case has progressed substantially by the time you request intervention. Feel free to call me at [trial attorney's phone number] if you have any questions about the EEOC's suit. I look forward to working with you in this case.

Sincerely yours,

[trial attorney's name and title]