In an issue that has splinteredfederal courts in New York, an Eastern District judge ruled yesterday thatthe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission may not issue early right-to-sueletters in discrimination cases.

In so holding, District JudgeArthur D. Spatt said that the EEOC must wait for the entire statutory periodof 180 days before telling complainants that they may file suit.In Rodriguez v. ConnectionTechnology Inc., CV 98-7631 (ADS), the EEOC, acting under a 1977 regulation,issued a right-to-sue letter only 39 days after receiving a complaint letterfrom Maria Z. Rodriguez, who said she was subject to sexual harassmentin her workplace and discriminated against under Title VII of the federalCivil Rights Act.

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