Jordan J. Feist


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 established the procedure by which an individual may bring a claim of employment discrimination. Before an individual can sue an alleged violator of Title VII, that person must first file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In many cases, an individual who does not file an EEOC charge will see his or her case dismissed for failure to adhere to the administrative exhaustion requirement.

Although seemingly simple, the administrative exhaustion requirement is not devoid of controversy. For nearly a decade, federal courts have been split over the issue of whether an individual who has filed an employment discrimination charge with the EEOC and who later alleges unlawful retaliation must file a subsequent EEOC charge on the retaliation claim. Some courts have recognized an exception to the administrative exhaustion requirement under circumstances such as these, whereby an individual could allege retaliation for the first time in district court so long as the alleged retaliation is "like or reasonably related" to the previously alleged discrimination. Other courts have ruled that no exceptions to the administrative exhaustion requirement should be made and that failure to file a subsequent retaliation charge precludes the claim.

This Comment first details the purpose of Title VII. This Comment then examines the split among federal courts over whether courts should make exceptions to the administrative exhaustion requirement. Finally, this Comment concludes that to preserve the important functions of the charge-filing process-putting the employer and EEOC on notice of an alleged violation and allowing the employer and aggrieved party to engage in voluntary conciliation proceedings-courts should not make any exceptions to the administrative exhaustion requirement.



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