Occidental Life Insurance Company of California v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PETITIONER: Occidental Life Insurance Company of California
RESPONDENT: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
LOCATION: Village of Arlington Heights

DOCKET NO.: 76-99
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 432 US 355 (1977)
ARGUED: Apr 20, 1977
DECIDED: Jun 20, 1977

ADVOCATES:
Dennis H. Vaughn - for petitioner
Thomas S. Martin - for respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Occidental Life Insurance Company of California v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 20, 1977 in Occidental Life Insurance Company of California v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 20, 1977 in Occidental Life Insurance Company of California v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Justice Stewart has two judgments and opinions for the Court to announce.

Potter Stewart:

In one of these two cases, 76-99, I am authorized to announce the opinion and judgment of the Court in this case being Occidental Life Insurance Company against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a case which is hereon writ of certiorari to United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In 1972, Congress amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so as to empower the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to bring suit in a Federal District Court against a private employer alleged to have violated the Act.

The only question presented by this case is what time limitation, if any, is imposed on the EEOC's power to bring such a lawsuit in a Federal District Court.

The District Court in this case held that the federal statute requires that an enforcement action must be brought within 180 days after the filing of a charge with the EEOC.

Alternatively, the Court held that the action was subject to the most appropriate state limitation statute and was therefore barred by the one-tear limitation provision of a section of the California Code of Civil Procedure.

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed holding that the federal law does not impose a 180-day limitation upon the EEOC's authority to sue and that the action is not covered by any state statute of limitations.

We granted certiorari to considering important and reoccurring question regarding Title VII.

For the reasons set out in some detail and the written opinion of the Court filed this morning with the clerk, we affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion in which he is joined by the Chief Justice.