Under section 707 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) is authorized to bring suit against employers who engage in a “pattern or practice of discrimination” against employees.
In past cases, the EEOC has sued employers who haven’t strictly engaged in discriminatory practices, as described in sections 703 and 704 of the act, but who have evinced a “resistance” to the rights of employees enumerated within the statute.
In an opinion letter published September 3, the EEOC clarified its power to bring pattern-or-practice claims moving forward. The EEOC must now bring a pattern-or-practice claim only against employers who have actually violated sections 703 or 704 of the act and must further follow the pre-suit requirements described in section 706, including filing a charge, receiving a finding of reasonable cause, and an attempt to conciliate.
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