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EEOC v. GREYHOUND LINES

March 30, 1976

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
v.
GREYHOUND LINES, INC., a California Corporation and Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, Division 1063



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROSENBERG

 The matter before me now is based on the motion of the defendant, Greyhound Lines, Inc. (Greyhound) to dismiss the complaint filed by the plaintiff, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Jurisdiction is founded in § 706(f)(1), (3) and (g) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. The plaintiff alleges that this action was instituted after all conditions precedent were fulfilled.

 As to the defendant, Greyhound, the plaintiff alleges that since July 2, 1965, through the present, it has intentionally engaged in unlawful employment practices against its employees based upon race and sex in violation of Title VII, which includes but is not limited to: (1) the policy, practice and system of hiring which limits job opportunity to blacks and females respectively; and (2) the promotion and assignment practice which result in a disproportionately high number of blacks and females assigned to more menial and low-paying jobs with less opportunity for advancement than created for other whites and males, respectively.

 As to the defendant, Amalgamated Transit Union, AFL-CIO, Division 1063 (Division 1063), the plaintiff alleges that since July 2, 1965 and through the present, it has intentionally engaged in discriminatory employment practices against its members in violation of Title VII, which includes but is not limited to limiting job opportunities on the basis of sex by acquiescence and cooperation with the defendant, Greyhound. The plaintiff seeks: (1) a permanent injunction enjoining the defendants from any further employment discrimination based on race and sex; (2) an order directing the defendants to initiate affirmative policies and actions providing equal treatment for blacks and females to eradicate prior discrimination; (3) an order directing the defendants to make whole those adversely affected by past discriminatory practices including but not limited to awards of back pay, compensation, restitution with interest or other relief deemed appropriate; and (4) to be awarded costs.

 The defendant Greyhound moves to dismiss the complaint averring that (1) it goes beyond the charge investigated in that it alleges racial discrimination where the original charging party only alleged sex discrimination; (2) it goes beyond the charge investigated in that it alleges sex discrimination in all of the defendant's employment practices where the original charging party only alleged discrimination in the defendant's seniority provision relating to job bidding; (3) if the original charging party, Marlene Sabolovic, lacked standing to complain of racial discrimination and did not, the plaintiff lacks standing also; (4) the death of Marlene Sabolovic, the original charging party, who sought only prospective relief renders the action moot; and (5) the plaintiff did not use conciliation as required in Title VII to settle the issues in that after an agreement was had it refused to settle the matter in a manner other than by a formal consent decree. The defendant moves in the alternative to strike all allegations in the complaint alleging race discrimination and those alleging sex discrimination in job practices other than seniority for job bidding.

 Much of the defendant's argument is that the complaint filed is much more extensive in its allegations than the charge that was filed with the plaintiff, EEOC, by the late Marlene Sabolovic. The defendant attempts to compare the process which empowers the EEOC to bring the present action to a complaint in any civil action and a subsequent trial on the issues raised, and requests me to further concentrate solely on the relationship between charge and complaint in a Title VII action disregarding any results from a thorough investigation by the EEOC.

 In Sanchez v. Standard Brands, Inc., 431 F.2d 455, C.A.5, 1970, the scope of the complaint was held not to be limited to the scope of the charge but rather to "the 'scope' of the EEOC investigation which can reasonably be expected to grow out of the charge of discrimination." (at page 466) It went on to say that a charge filed with the EEOC is by no means a preliminary to a complaint in federal court because its only purpose is to start the machinery of the EEOC in a full and effective investigation.

 In Sanchez, supra, at page 466, the Court held:

 
". . . Once a charge has been filed, the Commission carries out its investigatory function and attempts to obtain voluntary compliance with the law. Only if the EEOC fails to achieve voluntary compliance will the matter ever become the subject of court action. Thus it is obvious that the civil action is much more intimately related to the EEOC investigation than to the words of the charge which originally triggered the investigation. Within this statutory scheme, it is only logical to limit the permissible scope of the civil action to the scope of the EEOC investigation which can reasonably be expected to grow out of the charge of discrimination.
 
A more exacting rule would be destructive of the logic of the statutory scheme, for it would impede the ability of the Commission to effect voluntary compliance. If an alleged discriminator knew that a particular issue which was the subject of EEOC conciliation efforts could never be the subject of a civil action, his incentive toward voluntary compliance would be lessened."

 See also, King v. Georgia Power Co., 295 F. Supp. 943 (D.C.Ga.1968).

 In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. E. I. Dupont de Nemours and Co., E.T.C., 373 F. Supp. 1321 (D.C.Del.1974) considerations are advanced in support of the EEOC's broad complaint. The court held as follows:

 
"The doctrine that the Commission may take the charge as a starting point and include in its deliberations all facts developed in the course of a reasonable investigation of that charge is supported by a number of considerations. First, in the overall framework of Title VII, an individual charge operates not so much as a formal accusatory instrument like an indictment, but, rather, as the first step in an investigatory process that must be free to define relevant areas of inquiry as it unfolds. To mandate blinders for Commission investigators or to require that they pursue any additional discrimination disclosed by their investigation in a separate Commissioner's charge would be to sanction a waste of valuable and limited resources. Second, the charge is generally laydrawn, often by an individual of modest intellectual attainment whose powers of articulation are limited. Jenkins v. United Gas Corp., 400 F.2d 28, 30 (5th Cir. 1968). The precise language of the charge, therefore, provides less guidance for subsequent proceedings than the general character of the grievances to which the charge alludes. Third, the individual claiming to be aggrieved often perceives only dimly the nature and cause of the discrimination he believes he has experienced. Sanchez v. Standard Brands, supra, 431 F.2d at 462-463. The limited grievance he asserts may merely symptomize a deeper pattern of discrimination which only a trained investigator can recognize. Fourth, employment discrimination, almost by definition, is class discrimination, both in the factors that produce it and the consequences which it leaves in its wake. Blue Bell Boots, Inc. v. EEOC, 438 F.2d 32 (6th Cir. 1971). The Commission's power to redress individual grievances, then, implies the power to correct the underlying conditions responsible for those grievances, as well as the power to seek relief for other members of the grievant's class." (at page 1335).

 The realities of employment discrimination uncovered by a thorough investigation of the EEOC should in no way be suppressed by a limitation which thwarts a Title VII action. If during their investigation into a charge of sex discrimination in the defendant Greyhound's procedure for job bidding, the EEOC investigators were not allowed to proceed in a manner as to arrive at a determination which would ascertain motives for certain personnel programs, a true ...


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