In the case of Sedlak v. BIC Corp., a former employee moved for a reconsideration of the court’s decision to dismiss the count in her complaint against her former supervisor for failure to comply with the “naming” requirement in the her sex discrimination action against the supervisor and defendant former employer.The requirement that the supervisor be named in the charge to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) serves a twofold purpose to provide (1) actual notice of the pending complaint to those alleged to have committed the violations and (2) to provide the charged parties an opportunity to seek a resolution of the matter without resort to the federal courts. The courts apply the following four factors to determine whether there exists a sufficient identity of interest: (1) whether the role of the unnamed party could through reasonable effort by the complainant be ascertained at the time of the filing of the EEOC complaint; (2) whether, under the circumstances, the interests of the named party are so similar as the unnamed party’s that for the purpose of obtaining voluntary conciliation and compliance it would be unnecessary to include the unnamed party in the EEOC proceedings; (3) whether its absence from the EEOC proceedings resulted in actual prejudice to the interests of the unnamed party; (4) whether the unnamed party has in some way represented to the complainant that its relationship with the complainant is to be through the named party.
The employee left her work with the employer because she was being sexually harassment by the supervisor. The employee filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the state agency naming only the employer, but identifying the supervisor as the harasser. The EEOC issued a right to sue letter, which only name the employer. The employee brought this Title VII action against the employer as well as the supervisor. The supervisor was granted his motion to dismiss the count against him based on the employee’s failure to name him in the EEOC complaint. The employee sought reconsideration and argued that the exception to the “naming” requirement applied. The court granted reconsideration and vacated the dismissal. The court noted that the “naming requirement” was satisfied if the notice and opportunity for resolution purposes of the requirement were satisfied considering an identity of interest and other factors. Because the identity of interest between the employer and the supervisor was strong and because the supervisor was not prejudiced by not being named in the EEOC complaint, the court concluded that the trial court should have applied the exception.
The court vacated the dismissal of the count against the supervisor in the employee’s sex discrimination complaint. ” [The supervisor] has not demonstrated any prejudice which resulted from not being named in the EEOC charge” explained the court. “Any EEOC investigation would necessarily have to have included [the supervisor] as he was alleged to have created the hostile and offensive working atmosphere. It is difficult to perceive any prejudice to [the supervisor] which resulted from his not being named in the EEOC charge.”
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Source: Sedlak v. BIC Corp., 1993 Conn. Super. LEXIS 2214 (Conn. Super. Ct. Aug. 23, 1993)
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