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DOUGLAS v. RED CARPET CORP. OF AMERICA

May 14, 1982

LYNN DOUGLAS
v.
RED CARPET CORPORATION OF AMERICA and TOM BLADES



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRODERICK

On April 23, 1980, plaintiff Lynn Douglas ("Douglas") filed with this Court a complaint alleging that she was hired by defendant Red Carpet Corporation of America ("Red Carpet") as a salesperson on June 12, 1978 and dismissed from that position on November 1, 1978 for reasons that discriminated against her on the basis of her gender. In particular, Douglas contends that she was terminated because she rebuffed indirect sexual advances by defendant Tom Blades ("Blades"), her supervisor and an employee of Red Carpet. Defendants subsequently moved for summary judgment contending that Douglas failed to exercise her state administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(c) and that this Court therefore lacked jurisdiction to hear her complaint. The Court has considered the defendants' motion for summary judgment as a motion for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). For the reasons hereinafter set forth, the Court will deny defendants' motion.

 As heretofore noted, Douglas was dismissed from her position as a Red Carpet sales representative on November 1, 1978. On April 27, 1979, she filed a charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that she had been terminated for reasons related to her gender. She filed an amended charge with the EEOC on June 28, 1979. She did not file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). (Deposition of Lynn Douglas, July 17, 1980, at 72.)

 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(c)*provides, inter alia:

 
In the case of an alleged unlawful employment practice occurring in a State, or political subdivision of a State, which has a State or local law prohibiting the unlawful employment practice alleged and establishing or authorizing a State or local authority to grant or seek relief from such practice or to institute criminal proceedings with respect thereto upon receiving notice thereof, no charge may be filed under subsection (b) of this section by the person aggrieved before the expiration of sixty days after proceedings have been commenced under the State or local law, unless such proceedings have been earlier terminated,....
 
This concludes the Commission's processing of this charge. Should the Charging Party wish to pursue this matter further, the Party may do so by filing a private action in Federal District Court against the Respondent named above within 90 days following receipt of this letter and by taking the other procedural steps set out in the attached Notice of Right-to-Sue.

 On January 23, 1980, the EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter to Douglas, who subsequently filed suit.

 EEOC regulations in effect when Douglas filed her complaint provided in relevant part:

 
(d) The following procedures shall be followed with respect to cases arising in the jurisdiction of [state agencies in deferral states]
 
(1) Where any document, whether or not verified, is received by the Commission as provided in [the regulations] which may constitute a charge cognizable under Title VII, and where the [state] agency has not waived its right to the period of exclusive processing with respect to that document, that document shall be deferred to the appropriate [state] Agency as provided in the procedures set forth below:
 
(i) All such documents shall be dated and time stamped upon receipt.
 
(ii) A copy of the original document shall be transmitted by registered mail, return receipt requested, to the appropriate State or local agency...
 
(iii) The person claiming to be aggrieved and any person filing a charge on behalf of such person shall be notified, in writing, that the document which he or she sent to the Commission has been forwarded to the State or local agency pursuant to the ...

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