Skip to Content

Proposed Rule

Procedures-Age Discrimination in Employment Act

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Commission proposes to amend its regulations on the processing of age discrimination charges to provide that it will issue a notice, when it has dismissed or otherwise terminated the processing of an age discrimination charge, that the right to file a lawsuit on the charge under the ADEA will expire in 90 days. These amendments also delete references to the previously applicable two-or three-year limitations period for filing a civil action. Finally, EEOC is deleting its list of ADEA referral states because the list is obsolete and unnecessary. These changes will conform the Commission's regulations to the procedures adopted by the Commission to implement section 115 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

DATES:

Comments must be received by October 11, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments should be submitted to Frances M. Hart, Executive Officer, Executive Secretariat, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1801 L Street, NW., Washington, DC 20507. As a convenience to commenters, the Executive Secretariat will accept comments of six pages or less transmitted by facsimile (“FAX”) machine. The telephone number of the FAX receiver is (202) 663-4114. This is not a toll free number. The six-page limitation is necessary to assure access to the equipment. Receipt of FAX transmissions will not be acknowledged although a sender may request confirmation by calling the Executive Secretariat at (202) 663-4078 (voice) or (202) 663-4077 (TTY). These are not toll free numbers. Copies of comments submitted by the public will be available for review at the Commission's library, Room 6502, 1801 L Street NW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Thomas J. Schlageter, Assistant Legal Counsel at (202) 663-4669 (voice) or (202) 663-7026 (TTY). This proposed rule is also available in the following formats: large print, braille, audiotape and electronic file on computer disk. Requests for this proposed rule in an alternative format should be made to EEOC's Publication Center at 1-800-669-3362.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This notice of proposed rulemaking contains EEOC's proposed revisions to part 1626 of its regulations. These changes are proposed in order to conform the Commission's regulations to the procedures it adopted for the processing of charges under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) following passage of section 115 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Section 7(e) of the ADEA no longer incorporates the two- or three-year statute of limitations on civil actions in section 6 of the Portal to Portal Act nor does it incorporate the exemption to the Portal to Portal Act's limitations period during EEOC's conciliation efforts. Instead, upon dismissal or termination of proceedings, the Commission must notify the aggrieved person that his or her right to file a civil action under the ADEA will expire 90 days after receipt of the notice. This notice is denominated a “Notice of Dismissal or Termination.” The Commission is also taking this opportunity to delete an obsolete and unnecessary list of State Fair Employment Practices Agencies to which EEOC will send copies of ADEA charges.

The current § 1626.7(a) provides that charges will not be rejected as untimely provided that they are not barred by the statute of limitations contained in section 6 of the Portal to Portal Act. This provision recognized the Commission's authority to file suit within the Portal to Portal Act's limitation period even if the charging party did not have a private right of action because the charge was filed more than 180 days (or 300 days in a referral jurisdictions) after the discriminatory event took place. Following passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the statute of limitations contained in the Portal to Portal Act is no longer applicable to ADEA lawsuits filed by either the charging party or the Commission. We therefore propose to delete the current § 1626.7(a). The Commission will dismiss ADEA charges filed more than 180 days (or 300 days in a referral jurisdiction) after the discriminatory act, absent waiver, estoppel or equitable tolling.

The current § 1626.9(b) and (c) contain a list of states to which the Commission refers charges under section 14(b) of the ADEA. These lists were created when there were relatively few such agencies. Since almost all states now have laws prohibiting age discrimination, the lists are being deleted as obsolete and unnecessary. The regulation continues to provide that the Commission will refer age charges to appropriate state agencies.

Section 7(d) of the ADEA requires that, upon receipt of a charge, the Commission shall promptly attempt to eliminate any alleged unlawful practice by informal methods of conciliation, conference and persuasion. Under current § 1626.12, EEOC issues a notice if this attempt at conciliation fails. To eliminate any possible confusion between this failure of conciliation notice and the new Notice of Dismissal or Termination (NDT), we propose to add a sentence to § 1626.12 stating that notice under this section is not a Notice of Dismissal or Termination under § 1626.20.

The second sentence and last two sentences of the current § 1626.15(b) concern the tolling of the ADEA's statute of limitations during EEOC Start Printed Page 52432conciliation. Because this tolling provision no longer applies, we propose to delete these sentences. An editorial change is proposed to the third sentence, eliminating a reference to the current second sentence that we are proposing to delete.

The Commission is also proposing to add three new sections. Proposed § 1626.17 is modeled on 29 CFR 1601.28 and provides for issuance of a Notice of Dismissal or Termination to an aggrieved person when EEOC dismisses or otherwise terminates its processing of an ADEA charge. Notification will be made by issuing a Notice of Dismissal or Termination to each aggrieved person. In the case of a charge concerning more than one aggrieved person, Notices of Dismissal or Termination will only be issued when the charge is dismissed or EEOC's proceedings are terminated as to all aggrieved persons.

Proposed § 1626.18 concerns the institution of private civil actions. Paragraph (a) states that a civil action may be filed by an aggrieved person in either federal or state court under section 7 of the ADEA. Paragraph (b) makes clear that an aggrieved person need not wait for a Notice of Dismissal or Termination to be issued in order to file a civil action, but can file suit on a pending charge any time after 60 days have elapsed from the filing of the charge. Paragraph (c) provides that the right to file a private suit under the ADEA expires 90 days after receipt of a Notice of Dismissal or Termination. Paragraph (d) provides that when the Commission becomes aware that an aggrieved person has filed a private lawsuit under the ADEA against the respondent named in the charge, the Commission may terminate further processing of the charge or the portion of the charge affecting that person unless it is determined that further proceedings will effectuate the purposes of the ADEA.

Proposed § 1626.19 clarifies that, unlike Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., the ADEA does not require the filing of a charge before the Commission has authority to investigate and litigate a possible violation of the ADEA. In addition, the termination of proceedings on an age discrimination charge and the issuance of a Notice of Dismissal or Termination does not prevent the Commission from investigating or litigating a matter that may have been the subject of or related to a charge on which a Notice of Dismissal or Termination was issued.

Regulatory Procedures

Executive Order 12866

Pursuant to Executive Order 12866, EEOC has coordinated this proposed rule with the Office of Management and Budget. Under section 3(f)(1) of Executive Order 12866, EEOC has determined that the regulation will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State or local tribal governments or communities. Therefore, a detailed cost-benefit assessment of the regulation is not required.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This proposal contains no new information collection requirements subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35).

Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Commission certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, because it implements a statutory change in the time limits for filing suit. For this reason, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This proposed rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 1626

End List of Subjects Start Signature

For the Commission,

Cari M. Dominguez,

Chair.

End Signature

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, EEOC proposes to amend 29 CFR part 1626 as follows:

Start Part

PART 1626—PROCEDURES—AGE DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT ACT

1. The authority citation for Part 1626 continues to read as follows:

Start Authority

Authority: Sec. 9, 81 Stat. 605, 29 U.S.C. 628; sec. 2, Reorg. Plan No. 1 of 1978, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 321.

End Authority
[Amended]

2. Section 1626.7 is amended by removing paragraph (a) and redesignating paragraphs (b) and (c) as paragraphs (a) and (b).

[Amended]

3. Section 1626.9 is amended by removing the paragraph designation (a) and by removing paragraphs (b) and (c).

4. Section 1626.12 is amended by adding a sentence at the end of the section to read as follows:

Conciliation efforts pursuant to section 7(d) of the Act.

* * * Notification under this section is not a Notice of Dismissal or Termination under § 1626.17.

[Amended]

5. Paragraph (b) of § 1626.15 is amended by:

a. removing the second sentence;

b. removing the words “Such notice will” and adding in their place, the words “Notice of commencement of conciliation will”; and

c. removing the last two sentences.

[Redesignated as §§ 1626.20, 1626.21, 1626.22]

6. Sections 1626.17, 1626.18 and 1626.19 are redesignated as §§ 1626.20, 1626.21 and 1626.22.

7. A new § 1626.17 is added to read as follows:

Notice of Dismissal or Termination.

(a) Issuance of Notice of Dismissal or Termination. (1) Where a charge filed with the Commission under the ADEA is dismissed or the Commission's proceedings are otherwise terminated, the Commission will issue a Notice of Dismissal or Termination on the charge as described in paragraph (c) of this section to the person(s) claiming to be aggrieved. In the case of a charge concerning more than one aggrieved person, the Commission will only issue a Notice of Dismissal or Termination when the charge is dismissed or proceedings are otherwise terminated as to all aggrieved persons.

(2) Where the charge has been filed under the ADEA and Title VII or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Commission will issue a Notice of Dismissal or Termination under the ADEA at the same time it issues the Notice of Right to Sue under Title VII or the ADA.

(3) The issuance of a Notice of Dismissal or Termination does not Start Printed Page 52433preclude the Commission from offering such assistance to a person receiving the notice as the Commission deems necessary or appropriate. The issuance does not preclude or interfere with the Commission's continuing right to investigate and litigate the same matter or any ADEA matter under its enforcement authority.

(b) Delegation of authority to issue Notices of Dismissal or Termination. The Commission hereby delegates authority to issue Notices of Dismissal or Termination, in accordance with this section, to: District Directors; Area Directors; Local Directors; the Director of the Office of Field Programs; the Associate General Counsel for Systemic Investigations and Review Programs; the Director of Field Management Programs, Office of Field Programs; or their designees.

(c) Contents of the Notice of Dismissal or Termination. The Notice of Dismissal or Termination shall include:

(1) A copy of the charge;

(2) Notification that the proceedings of the Commission have been dismissed or otherwise terminated; and

(3) Notification that the aggrieved person's right to file a civil action against the respondent on the subject charge under the ADEA will expire 90 days after receipt of such notice.

8. A new § 1626.18 is added to read as follows:

Filing of private lawsuit.

(a) An aggrieved person may file a civil action against the respondent named in the charge in either federal or state court under section 7 of the ADEA.

(b) An aggrieved person whose claims are the subject of a timely pending charge may file a civil action at any time after 60 days have elapsed from the filing of the charge with the Commission without waiting for a Notice of Dismissal or Termination to be issued.

(c) The right of an aggrieved person to file suit expires 90 days after receipt of the Notice of Dismissal or Termination.

(d) If the Commission becomes aware that the aggrieved person whose claim is the subject of a pending ADEA charge has filed an ADEA lawsuit against the respondent named in the charge, it may terminate further processing of the charge or portion of the charge affecting that person unless the District Director; Area Director; Local Director; Director of the Office of Field Programs; the Associate General Counsel for Systemic Investigation and Review Programs; the Director of Field Management Programs; or their designees determine at that time or at a later time that it would effectuate the purpose of the ADEA to further process the charge.

9. A new § 1626.19 is added to read as follows:

Filing of Commission lawsuit.

The right of the Commission to file a civil action under the ADEA is not dependent on the filing of a charge and is not affected by the issuance of a Notice of Dismissal or Termination to any aggrieved person.

End Part End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 02-20126 Filed 8-9-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6570-01-P