Clifton v. Midway College – Case Brief Summary (Kentucky)

In Clifton v. Midway College, Ky., 702 S.W.2d 835 (1985) an aggrieved employee filed a complaint with the EEOC. Id. at 836.

The EEOC deferred to the KCHR which in turn took no action other than to relinquish the claim back to the EEOC. Id. The EEOC then issued a "Notice of Right to Sue" letter. Id. Thereafter, the employee filed suit against the employer in the circuit court. The circuit court entered a summary judgment in favor of the employer dismissing the employee's complaint. Id.

The circuit court held that the employee had a claim before the KCHR which precluded her from filing a civil action in the courts. Id. Further, the circuit court held that the notification received from the EEOC constituted a final determination by the administrative agency and that, therefore, the circuit court lacked jurisdiction. Id.

In granting discretionary review of this court's opinion affirming the trial court, the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed. Clifton, 702 S.W.2d at 838.

The court held that an individual who has charges of discrimination referred by the EEOC to the KCHR, but without an order issued by the KCHR, is not precluded from pursuing a civil action under KRS 344.450. Id. at 837.

The court noted that the KCHR neither gave consideration to the charges nor issued any order relating to the employee's claim. Id. Further, the court noted that "the complainant has been the victim of a bureaucratic shuffle without the benefit of any kind of evidentiary hearing on the merits of her charges." Id.