MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.
A person claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253,
The petitioner was employed by the Pullman Company as a "porter-in-charge." In 1963 and again in 1965, he complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, alleging that the porters-in-charge, most of whom, like the petitioner, were Negroes, performed the same functions as conductors, most of whom were white, yet at lower pay. The proceedings of the Colorado Commission terminated in 1965 without reaching a resolution of the controversy satisfactory to the petitioner. On May 23, 1966, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received from the petitioner a "letter of inquiry" which complained of this same alleged discrimination.
The basis for the holding of the Court of Appeals was its finding that the charge of discrimination had not been "filed" with EEOC by the petitioner in conformity with the requirements of the Act.
The EEOC takes the position that these requirements were fulfilled by the procedure followed here, whereby a charge filed with the EEOC prior to exhaustion of the state remedy was referred by it to the state agency, and then formally filed once the state agency indicated that it would decline to take action. The Court of Appeals, on the other hand, regarded this procedure as a "manipulation of the filing date," not contemplated or permitted by the statute or by the EEOC regulations then in force.
We hold that the filing procedure followed here fully complied with the intent of the Act, and we thus reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals. Nothing in the Act suggests that the state proceedings may not be initiated by the EEOC acting on behalf of the complainant rather than by the complainant himself, nor is there any requirement that the complaint to the state agency be made in writing rather than by oral referral.
We see no reason why further action by the aggrieved party should be required. The procedure complies with the purpose both of § 706 (b), to give state agencies a prior opportunity to consider discrimination complaints, and of § 706 (d), to ensure expedition in the filing and handling of those complaints. The respondent makes no showing of prejudice to its interests. To require a second "filing" by the aggrieved party after termination of state proceedings would serve no purpose other than the creation of an additional procedural technicality.
The judgment is
MR. JUSTICE POWELL and MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST took no part in the consideration or decision of these cases.
"[A] charge is deemed filed when the Commission receives from the person aggrieved a written statement sufficiently precise to identify the parties and to describe generally the action or practices complained of. . . ."
"If any requirement for the commencement of such proceedings is imposed by a State or local authority other than a requirement of the filing of a written and signed statement of the facts upon which the proceeding is based, the proceeding shall be deemed to have been commenced for the purposes of this subsection at the time such statement is sent by registered mail to the appropriate State or local authority."
Nothing in this language implies that a state proceeding may not be commenced by an oral complaint; the statute guards against state proceedings that are difficult to commence, not against ones that are easily begun.