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Fort Bend County v. Davis: SCOTUS Bends Employers’ Defense to Title VII Claims, But Doesn’t Break It

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On June 3, 2019, the United States Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”) unanimously held in Fort Bend County v. Davis that federal courts may be able to hear claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) without the complainants having first brought their claims to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or the relevant state agencies. The Supreme Court determined that Title VII’s charge-filing precondition to filing suit is not a “jurisdictional” requirement, and an employer’s failure-to-exhaust-administrative-remedies defense is subject to waiver if not timely raised. We summarize Title VII law and the Davis decision and what this decision means (and doesn’t mean) for employers here.