Notice of Right To Sue Letters
Employees in Missouri are generally required to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or Missouri Commission on Human Rights (“MCHR”) before filing a discrimination lawsuit against an employer. The charge of discrimination is commonly "dual filed" with the EEOC and MCHR, but sometimes it is not due to, for example, the size of the employer in question. Whether the charge has been filed with the EEOC or MCHR, the employee and employer will generally be notified that a charge of discrimination has been filed and the parties will be given contact information of the investigator handling the case. Both parties will be asked to provide information to the investigator.
Traditionally, the administrative agency that investigated a charge would generally make one of two decisions: (1) a reasonable cause determination that the law has been violated; or (2) the agency is unable to determine if the law has been violated. If the agency was unable to reach a conclusion on a reasonable cause determination, the agency would dismiss the charge and/or issue a Right to Sue Notice, informing the plaintiff of his or her right to file a lawsuit in court within ninety (90) days. If the agency made a reasonable cause determination, the agency would typically try to resolve the case by engaging in conciliation discussions with the employer. The Right to Sue Notice could also be obtained under some circumstances upon request by the charging party.
Recent legislative amendments in Missouri, however, have materially changed some of the rules and procedures for obtaining a Right to Sue letter from the MCHR. See § 213.111 RSMo. Following these amendments from 2018, an employee can now only receive a Right to Sue letter from the MCHR if, after one hundred and eighty (180) days from the filing of a charge of discrimination, the MCHR has not completed its administrative processing and the employee requests such a letter in writing. Id. (noting “[t]he [MCHR] may not at any other time or for any other reason issue a letter indicating a complainant’s right to bring a civil action”). Missouri courts, including the Missouri Supreme Court, continue to interpret and weigh in on the legal meaning and significance of Right to Sue letters. See, e.g., McDonald v. Chamber of Comm. of Independence, 581 S.W.3d 110 (Mo. Ct. App. 2019); Cass County v. Director of Revenue, 550 S.W.3d 70 (Mo. banc 2018). Our attorneys track these developments to understand and advise you regarding your rights, obligations and options in relation to any pending or contemplated notice of right to sue.
To set up a consultation to address your questions or concerns about a right to sue letter, please contact Dolley Law, LLC at (314) 645-4100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All legal consultations are held strictly confidential.