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Employee Exhausts Administrative Remedies

On July 30th, 2012 in Bullock v. Berrien (The US Court of Appeals – Ninth Circuit, No. 10-55866), the court held that filing a formal complaint for adjudication by an administrative law judge exhausts an employee, who is subject to Title VII, administrative remedies.

In Bullock, the plaintiff filed a complaint alleging disability discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, against her employer. An administrative law judge denied the plaintiff's claims. The plaintiff filed an appeal but later withdrew it, deciding to file a civil suit. The district court dismissed the plaintiff's appeal citing that the plaintiff had not exhausted her administrative remedies.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the district court's decision. The court felt that because there were not simultaneous administrative and judicial proceedings and the plaintiff no longer had the right to administrative review, that a rule based on administrative efficiency should not be applied. The court noted that the plaintiff's administrative appeal was optional and did not significantly impair administrative efficiency. Thus, the court felt that the district court made an error by dismissing the plaintiff's suit.

If you need information regarding disability discrimination, sexual harassment, or retaliation, please do not hesitate to contact a Southern California Employment attorney today.

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