X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Adolph Rice was removed from his position as traffic coordinator for Russell-Stanley L.P. Rice alleges the removal was because of his age and, thus, violated state law. He filed suit in state court approximately six months after his removal. Russell-Stanley filed a no-evidence motion for summary judgment asserting that because Rice had no evidence he had received a Texas Commission on Human Rights right-to-sue letter, he had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment. Rice appeals. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. Under a “Worksharing Agreement,” the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the TCHR designated each other as agent for the purpose of receiving complaints. Vielma v. Eureka Co., 218 F.3d 458 (5th Cir. 2000). When a complainant files an initial charge with the EEOC, the charge will also be considered filed with the TCHR. Chapter 21 of the Labor Code, also known as the Commission on Human Rights Act, deals with employment discrimination. Tex. Lab. Code Ann. �� 21.001-.306. The Texas Supreme Court has held that exhausting the administrative remedies outlined in the act is a mandatory prerequisite to filing a civil action alleging a violation of the act. Schroeder v. Texas Iron Works Inc., 813 S.W.2d 483 (Tex. 1991). In order to comply with this exhaustion requirement, an employee must: 1. file a complaint with the TCHR within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act; 2. allow the TCHR to dismiss the complaint or resolve the complaint within 180 days before filing suit; and 3. file suit no later than two years after the complaint is filed. The TCHR shall inform the complainant of the dismissal or failure to resolve the complaint in writing by certified mail. �21.208. But, mere possession of a right-to-sue letter is not mandatory before filing suit. �21.252. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals stated: “A complainant (who has received notice of dismissal or failure to resolve) is entitled to request the letter. The executive director may � but does not have to � issue it. And, the failure to issue the letter does not impact the complainant’s right to sue. . . . We conclude that it is the entitlement to the right-to-sue letter that exhausts the complainant’s administrative remedies. The statute certainly supports an interpretation that the right-to-sue letter is notice of exhaustion, not actually part of exhaustion.” City of Houston v. Fletcher, 63 S.W.3d 920 (Tex. App. � Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, no pet.). This court agrees that the right-to-sue letter is not part of the exhaustion requirement, only notice of exhaustion. Russell-Stanley asserted only one basis for its summary judgment motion: that Rice had no evidence of a right-to-sue letter. Russell-Stanley did not contest whether Rice had actually received a notice of dismissal or failure to resolve from the TCHR. The TCHR is required to send such notice. If Rice received a notice of dismissal or failure to resolve, then he was entitled to request, in writing, a right-to-sue letter. Rice was not required to request it. Thus, because the right-to-sue letter is not part of the exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement, Rice was not required to present evidence that he received a right-to-sue letter from the TCHR. OPINION:Gray, C.J.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.