CHANDLER V. ROUDEBUSH, 425 U. S. 840 (1976)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chandler v. Roudebush, 425 U.S. 840 (1976)

Chandler v. Roudebush

No. 74-1599

Argued March 2, 1976

Decided June 1, 1976

425 U.S. 840


Section 717(c) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as added by § 11 of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, provides that, within a specified period after notice of final administrative action on a federal employee's discrimination complaint by the employing agency, or by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), upon an appeal from the agency's order, or after a specified period of delay by the agency or the CSC, the employee "may file a civil action" as provided in the statute, against the agency head. Petitioner, a Negro, claiming that her failure to receive a promotion by the Veterans' Administration was sexually and racially discriminatory, after exhausting her administrative remedies, brought suit under § 717(c). She was not allowed to proceed with discovery, the District Court having determined that "the absence of discrimination is firmly established by the clear weight of the administrative record." The court thereupon granted summary judgment in favor of respondents. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: The plain meaning of the statute, reinforced by the legislative history of the 1972 amendments, compels the conclusion that federal employees have the same right to a trial de novo as is enjoyed by private sector or state government employees under the amended Civil Rights Act of 1964. Pp. 425 U. S. 843-864.

515 F.2d 251, reversed and remanded.

STEWART, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Page 425 U. S. 841

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