Tuesday, September 13, 2005

No laches in Title VII case

In EEOC v. Navy Federal Credit Union, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge King, joined by Judge Gregory and Senior Judge Hamilton, reversed the summary judgment entered by Judge Lee of the E.D. Va. in a retaliation case, on grounds including the defendant's assertion of the doctrine of laches.

On the laches issue, the facts were that the Fairfax County Human Rights Commission sat on the claim for four years, before it went on to the EEOC, which filed suit another two years later. The Court reversed the finding that the claim was barred by laches, concluding that the district court erred in tagging the EEOC with the delay wrought by the county agency: "Absent a showing that the delaying entity is the agent or alter ego of the party against whom laches is asserted, we are unable to penalize the latter (the EEOC) for the actions of the former (the FCHRC)."

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