WILLIAM E. MILLER, Circuit Judge.
This action is based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It comes before us upon a discretionary appeal from a denial of appellant's motion to reconsider the Court's prior adverse ruling on a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff-appellee, a Negro laborer who had been employed by defendant-appellant for ten years, successfully participated
On May 8, 1967, appellee filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging that his discharge was racially motivated, that appellant discriminated against Negroes in both the physical conditions of employment and the opportunities for promotion, and that he had been punished for advocating his rights as an employee. After appellee amended his charge of discrimination to include general allegations of racial discrimination and the EEOC conducted an investigation, a Notice of Right to Sue was issued on August 19, 1969, based upon the EEOC's finding of reasonable cause to believe that appellant had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq.
Two days later on May 10, 1967, appellee filed a claim for unemployment compensation with the Tennessee State Department of Employment Security. Finding that appellee was not discharged for misconduct within the meaning of the applicable Tennessee statute, the appeals tribunal of the Tennessee Employment Security Department reversed a preliminary determination and allowed appellee's claim.
On May 11, 1967, appellee filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), alleging in general terms that he had been fired in violation of Sections 8(a) (1)
Pursuant to the EEOC's authorization, appellee then filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, seeking an injunction against future racially discriminatory practices, reinstatement and back pay, and general relief. He alleged that his discharge was based on racial motivations and his active opposition to appellant's unlawful employment practices. He further charged that appellee discriminated against Negro employees in the provision of restrooms, eating facilities, coffee breaks and opportunities for promotion, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Appellant filed a motion for summary judgment on the issues of appellee's discharge, reinstatement and back pay. The motion, alleging collateral estoppel and res judicata, judicial estoppel, lack of standing, and a variance between the EEOC charge and the judicial complaint,
I Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata
Appellant first argues that the appellee is precluded by res judicata and collateral estoppel from asserting that he was discharged because of racial prejudice since the cause of his discharge was previously litigated by the NLRB. We do not agree.
Although frequently confused, res judicata and collateral estoppel are different theories which often lead to the same result. These rules have been distinguished in the following manner:
Neither collateral estoppel nor res judicata is rigidly applied. Both rules are qualified or rejected when their application would contravene an overriding public policy or result in manifest injustice. Title v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 322 F.2d 21 (9th Cir. 1953); Matias Rivera v. Gardner, 286 F.Supp. 305 (D.P.R.1968); Old Dutch Farms, Inc. v. Milk Drivers & Dairy Employees Local Union No. 584, 281 F.Supp. 971 (E.D.N.Y.1968); 1B Moore's Federal Practice ¶0.405, at 791; 2 K. Davis, Administrative Law Treatise § 18.02, at 548 (1958).
It is now accepted that both res judicata and collateral estoppel can be applicable to decisions of administrative agencies acting in a judicial capacity. United States v. Utah Construction & Mining Co., 384 U.S. 394, 86 S.Ct. 1545, 16 L.Ed.2d 642 (1966); Painters District Council No. 38 v. Edgewood Contracting Co., 416 F.2d 1081 (5th Cir. 1969); Pacific Seafarers, Inc. v. Pacific Far East Line, Inc., 131 U.S.App.D.C. 226, 404 F.2d 804 (D.C. Cir. 1968), cert. denied, 393 U.S. 1093, 89 S.Ct. 872, 21 L.Ed.2d 784 (1969); Fairmont Aluminum Co. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 222 F.2d 622 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 350 U.S. 838, 76 S.Ct. 76, 100 L.Ed. 748 (1955); 2 K. Davis, Administrative Law Treatise § 18.02, at 609 (Supp.1970). Cf. Safir v. Gibson, 432 F.2d 137 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, see 400 U.S. 850, 91 S.Ct. 57, 27 L.Ed.2d 88 (1970).
Despite the possible applicability of these doctrines to administrative decisions, in the instant action it would be inappropriate to apply either. The issue here is whether appellee's dismissal was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The NLRB decision, on the other hand, dealt with an alleged violation of the National Labor Relations Act. Although these two acts are not totally dissimilar, their differences significantly overshadow their similarities. Pettway v. American Cast Iron Pipe Co., 411 F.2d 998 (5th Cir. 1969). See Comment, 44 N.Y.U.L.Rev. 404 (1969). Absent a special consideration, a determination arising solely under one statute should not automatically
As a result of the variant standards of these statutes, the NLRB hearing did not adequately consider the factors necessary for a Title VII violation. The Trial Examiner was primarily concerned with the question whether the appellee's union activities led to his discharge.
The legislative history of Title VII supports this conclusion. During the debate in Congress over Title VII, Senator Clark introduced a letter from the Attorney General indicating that Title VII does not prevent an individual from proceeding under both Title VII and the National Labor Relations Act. 110 Cong.Rec. 7207 (1964). Similarly, the United States Senate rejected a proposed amendment which would have made Title VII the exclusive means of relief for most discriminatory employment practices. 110 Cong.Rec. 13650-52 (1964). This action is some evidence at least that Congress, realizing the differences between Title VII and other statutes directly or indirectly proscribing racial discrimination in employment, did not intend for a decision under one such
This Court's recent decision in Dewey v. Reynolds Metals, 429 F.2d 324 (6th Cir. 1970), cert. granted, 400 U.S. 1008, 91 S.Ct. 566, 27 L.Ed.2d 621 (1971), does not contradict this conclusion. Dewey held that a Title VII action could not be brought after the grievance had been finally adjudicated by the binding arbitration procedures required by the collective bargaining contract. This result was the product of a fear that a contrary result would "destroy the efficacy of arbitration." Id. at 332. In the case before us, however, no such overriding policy considerations are present, for no binding arbitration was required. Therefore, the special circumstances upon which Dewey was based are not relevant here.
II Judicial Estoppel
Appellant also argues that appellee is precluded by the doctrine of judicial estoppel from asserting in this action that his discharge was racially motivated since he had twice previously maintained under oath that his discharge was the product of union activities. Despite the seeming inconsistency in appellee's positions, a consideration of the context of the union activities indicates that the inconsistency is of form rather than substance. Allegations of racial motivation were inherent in the appellee's complaints to the NLRB
Appellant further alleges that appellee has no standing to challenge the alleged discriminatory practices since he is no longer an employee of the appellant. This contention is contrary to the clear weight of authority. In Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, Inc., 417 F.2d 1122 (5th Cir. 1969), for example, the Court permitted a former employee, allegedly fired for racial reasons, to maintain a class action consisting of an "across the board" attack on discrimination. See also Carr v. Conoco Plastics, Inc., 423 F.2d 57 (5th Cir. 1970); Wilson v. Monsanto Co., 315 F.Supp. 977 (E.D.La.1970) (job applicant); Kemp v. General Electric Co., 60 L.C. ¶9238 (N. D.Ga.1969) (discharged employees); Gunn v. Layne & Bowler, Inc., 56 L.C. ¶9088 (W.D.Tenn.1967) (discharged employee). But cf. Colbert v. H-K Corp., 295 F.Supp. 1091 (N.D.Ga.1968). It is to be noted that although the present action is not labelled a class action, it "is perforce a sort of class action for fellow employees similarly situated." Jenkins v. United Gas Corp., 400 F.2d 28, 33 (5th Cir. 1968). See also Blue Bell Boots, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 418 F.2d 355 (6th Cir. 1969). Appellant's black employees will benefit if appellee's position is upheld in the District Court, for part of his complaint seeks general relief against a wide range of past and present allegedly discriminatory practices. Considering the class aspects of this action, the District Court should take necessary precautions to protect the interests of the parties who will be affected by the action.
IV Scope of EEOC Charge
Finally, appellant contends that appellee cannot raise the issue in the courts that he was discharged for his active opposition to appellant's unlawful employment practices because this allegation was not included within his EEOC charge.
Before deciding this question, it is necessary to establish several general principles. First, this Court has recognized that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 should not be construed narrowly. Blue Bell Boots, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 418 F.2d 355, 358 (6th Cir. 1969). In addition, charges of discrimination filed before the EEOC will generally be filed by lay complainants who are unfamiliar with the niceties of pleading and are acting without assistance of counsel. Graniteville Company v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 438 F.2d 32 (4th Cir. 1971). As a result, federal courts should not allow procedural technicalities to preclude Title VII complaints. Sanchez v. Standard Brands, Inc., 431 F.2d 455 (5th Cir. 1970). When this approach is applied to the determination of whether a judicial complaint encompasses the EEOC charge, it is clear that the exact wording of the charge of discrimination need not "presage with literary exactitude the judicial pleadings which may follow." Id. at 465. Rather, the complaint in the judicial proceedings is only limited to the scope of the EEOC investigation reasonably expected to grow out of the charge of discrimination. Id. at 466; King v. Georgia Power Co., 295 F.Supp. 943 (N.D.Ga.1968).
In the case at bar it is true that neither the original nor amended charge of discrimination stated precisely that appellee was discharged for his active opposition to appellant's alleged unlawful employment practices. The original charge of discrimination did allege, however, that appellee was punished for asserting his rights as an employee. In addition, among other contentions, the amended charge of discrimination stated that appellant discriminated against Negroes by terminating appellee's employment without justification. We read these charges as sufficient to include the allegation that appellee was discharged for his active opposition to appellant's unlawful employment practices. The fact that a judicial complaint alleges a more detailed and refined contention than that contained in the charge of discrimination does not mean that the former was not included in the latter.
Appellant cites two cases in support of his position. Neither is controlling. Oatis v. Crown Zellerbach Corp., 398 F.2d 496 (5th Cir. 1968) was specifically rejected by the Fifth Circuit as authority on the question presented here. Sanchez v. Standard Brands, Inc., 431 F.2d 455, 466 (5th Cir. 1970). Similarly, Colbert v. H-K Corp., 295 F.Supp. 1091 (N.D.Ga.1968) does not support appellant's contention. In that case the District Court held that the judicial complaint must only be "related to the charge filed with the EEOC." Id. at 1093 (emphasis added). The necessary relationship is clearly present in the case at bar.