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Plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act when she filed an employment discrimination lawsuit less than one year after filing her administrative complaint.

October 1, 2010
DeAngelo v. DentalEZ, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88364 (Sept. 2, 2010)

The plaintiff filed an administrative complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC") on May 13, 2008, alleging age and gender discrimination. After requesting a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on December 18, 2008, which was issued on January 16, 2009, the plaintiff filed a federal court lawsuit on February 6, 2009, asserting claims pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII. On March 2, 2009, the PHRC notified plaintiff's counsel that it was closing the matter because she had "recently filed a complaint in federal court raising substantially the same issues" raised in her administrative complaint. The plaintiff later amended her federal court complaint on May 18, 2009, asserting claims pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"). In dismissing the plaintiff's PHRA claims for failing to exhaust her administrative remedies, the court noted that a plaintiff cannot file a judicial action until the PHRC dismisses the compliant or enters into a conciliation agreement to which the complainant is a party, and that either of the events must occur within one year. The plaintiff, however, filed her federal court complaint only nine months after filing her PHRC complaint, thereby foreclosing any further investigation by the PHRC since it closed the file administratively pursuant to their policy. In so holding, the court rejected the plaintiff's argument that her amended complaint cured her exhaustion defects since it was filed after the PHRA's one-year time period, stating that the plaintiff "never exhausted her administrative remedies at any time" and allowing for such a cure would undermine the entire purpose of requiring a plaintiff to file an administrative complaint in the first place."

Case Law Alert - 4th Qtr 2010

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Lee C. Durivage
(215) 575-2584

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