Carson v. Cudd Pressure Control, Inc., No. 07-6199 (10th Cir. Oct. 18, 2008)

By Paul Mollica

Post Federal Express Corp. v. Holowecki, 128 S. Ct.1147 (2008), here’s one of the first decisions (albeit unpublished) applying the Supreme Court’s newly-minted standard for defining what is meant by a “charge” for purposes of meeting the 180/300-day filing deadline.

Carson v. Cudd Pressure Control, Inc., No. 07-6199 (10th Cir. Oct. 18, 2008):  The plaintiff concededly first filed a “formal” EEOC charge alleging violations of that ADA beyond the 300-day limit.  But he also “proffered documents indicating that, on September 9, 2005 (within 300 days of his discharge), he had completed, signed, and delivered three verified EEOC questionnaires and an affidavit stating claims of discrimination based on a disability or a perceived disability. To augment and clarify his complaint, Mr. Carson stated that ‘the EEOC charge was not filed with the EEOC on February 3, 2006. Rather, the EEOC charge was issued’ on that date. Aplt. App. at 38. He also provided instances in which the EEOC referred to his September 2005 filing as a ‘charge.’ Id. at 40-41.”  [Emphasis in the original.] 

Although the district court believed (pre-Holowecki) that questionnaire was not enough to meet the charge-filing requirement, the Tenth Circuit reverses.  “In this case, Mr. Carson filled out forms similar to those discussed in Holowecki. His EEOC submissions included his allegations of discrimination and the name of his employer. Additionally, his stated ‘expectations’ of ‘back pay,’ front pay, reinstatement of stock incentives,’ demonstrate an intent to seek EEOC assistance in enforcing his perceived rights. Aplt. App. at 52. Under the Holowecki standard, Mr. Carson’s intake forms constitute a charge.”