When the Supreme Court issued its ruling last spring in Mach Mining v. EEOC, 135 S. Ct. 1645 (2015), employer representatives gleefully claimed victory for the strategy of defeating cases on the grounds that the EEOC did not properly conciliate before filing the lawsuit.
The Second Circuit’s decision today in EEOC v. Sterling Jewelers, No. 14-1782 (2d Cir. Sept. 9, 2015) suggests that the victory dance may have been premature. The court reversed the district court’s order granting summary judgment for the agency’s alleged failure to conduct a sufficient investigation before filing suit. Relying on Mach Mining, the panel held that the district court may only consider whether the EEOC investigated, not whether the investigation was sufficient.