In 2007, the EEOC sued Bloomberg L.P. for engaging in a pattern and practice of pregnancy discrimination against 78 employees. Bloomberg won a summary judgment motion that ended the pattern or practice aspect of the case. The EEOC persevered and converted the action to individual claims of discrimination on behalf of 29 non-intervening claimants and six employees who intervened in the action.
Well, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has decimated that case. The Court granted Bloomberg summary judgment as to the non-intervening claimants. It seems that the EEOC failed to investigate the claims of each individual and failed in its duty to conciliate the claims with Bloomberg before initiating litigation. The District Court judge conceded that the Court has only a modest role in evaluating the EEOC’s conciliation obligation. However, the Court must ensure that the EEOC had provided sufficient notice to the employer of the nature of the charges, which would set the stage for real discussions to resolve the claims.
The EEOC was more focused on systemic discrimination rather than the facts of each individual case. The EEOC was prohibited from using the litigation process to make up for what it had failed to do pre-litigation. The judge concluded that the only proper remedy was to bar the EEOC from seeking relief on behalf of these non-interveners. Bloomberg may now seek attorneys’ fees. The judge also dismissed all but one of the six intervening claims.