Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Judge Rejects EEOC Severance Suit Against CVS

Many of you have been following the EEOC's high-profile litigation against CVS, where the agency challenged the validity of the severance agreements offered to terminated employees. While workers waived their rights to litigation as part of the agreement, they were still entitled to bring charges against the company with the Commission. The case seemed primed to provide substantial guidance on the uncertainty which currently exists in this area of the law. This was not to be, however, as the District Court threw out the case on other grounds. From the Chicago Tribune's report on the case:

"U.S. District Court Judge John Darrah barely addressed the merits of the EEOC claim. He threw out the suit because he said the EEOC did not follow the law by failing to have formal settlement discussions with CVS before filing the complaint."

It will be interesting to see if the agency appeals this decision, and if so what the Seventh Circuit ultimately does with this case.  More to follow soon…

-Joe Seiner

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But Judge Darrah did include some thoughts on the substance of the claims in footnotes 2 and 3 - including his view that a violation might make the contract unenforceable, but that it would not be an independent violation of Title VII. I will be interested to see if the ruling is just viewed as a conciliation ruling, or whether other courts pick up on the footnotes. Opinion available here:

Posted by: J. Bent | Oct 15, 2014 10:47:24 AM

Excellent point, thanks so much Jason!

Posted by: Joe Seiner | Oct 16, 2014 4:07:17 AM

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