Arguments center on whether EEOC filings trigger jurisdiction in civil rights case
HOUSTON – Appellate lawyers with Houston-based Wright Close & Barger will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22 a case involving a religious discrimination claim made by a former Fort Bend County employee.
The employee, Lois M. Davis, was fired in 2011 after she was denied time off from a Sunday work assignment to attend church. After she was fired, she sued the county, alleging religious discrimination and other claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
This case presents a technical but important question about how employment discrimination claims work under federal law. Before filing a Title VII case, employees file “charges” with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that spell out their claims. Years into this case, Fort Bend suddenly claimed that Ms. Davis’ charge was not good enough. The Supreme Court will consider whether Fort Bend lost its chance to challenge Ms. Davis’ charge by waiting too long. The United States has filed a brief in support of Ms. Davis.
“This is an important case for victims of employment discrimination and for employers and governments. We believe Ms. Davis will prevail,” said Raffi Melkonian, attorney for Ms. Davis and an appellate specialist with Wright Close & Barger. Also providing legal counsel before the Supreme Court are firm partners Tom Wright and Russell Hollenbeck and Brian Fletcher and Pam Karlan of the Stanford Law School Supreme Court litigation clinic.
The case has sparked numerous amicus briefs including from the NAACP, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Conference of State Legislatures and the Center for Workplace Compliance.
The case is Fort Bend County v. Davis, case number 18-525, before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Wright Close & Barger LLP is a Houston-based civil trial and appellate firm handling complex trial and appeals work for clients across Texas. The firm’s team of experienced attorneys has a track record of achieving favorable resolutions in cases involving catastrophic personal injury, insurance coverage, intellectual property, oil and gas, product defects, commercial disputes, arbitration and mediation, trade secrets, and trust and estate litigation, among others. Wright Close & Barger also assists with pretrial motions, special evidence problems, challenges to expert witnesses, and the critical work on the court’s charge to the jury. To learn more, visit http://www.wrightclosebarger.com.