Legal Memorandum: Suit against Unnamed Party in an EEOC Complaint

Issue: Does the failure to include a defendant in an EEOC complaint bar a plaintiff’s suit against that defendant?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: EEOC complaint; Unnamed party
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 570 F. Supp. 1299; 83 F.3d 498
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2011

Watson v. The Fuller Brush Co., 570 F. Supp. 1299 (W.D. Mich. 1983) (“The Seventh Circuit has set out a four-pronged test for determining whether to excuse . . . a failure [to name a party in the EEOC complaint]:

(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 a named party are so similar to 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.

Under this test, ‘each prong must be carefully evaluated in light of both Title VII’s remedial purposes as well as the interests of the parties.'”).

Brodie v. N.Y. City Transit Auth., No. 96 Civ. 6813 (LMM), 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14129 (S.D.N.Y. 1998) (“The court must consider four factors in determining whether such an identity of interest exists between the named and unnamed parties: (1) whether the role of the unnamed party was known to plaintiff at the time of filing the EEOC charge; (2) whether the interests of […]

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