Moreover our own Court of Appeals has reached a like result in
a closely parallel situation. United States v. Internat'l Ass'n
of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers, Local No. 1,
438 F.2d 679 (7th Cir. 1971) involved the pre-1972 version of
Title VII, under which EEOC was empowered only to investigate
charges of unlawful employment discrimination, make findings of
reasonable cause and then attempt to conciliate charges it found
justified. Upon failure of conciliation it referred the charges
to the Attorney General. To bring a district court action the
Attorney General needed reasonable cause to believe that a
pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination existed.
While the specific determinations of reasonable cause were thus
somewhat different, each represents an administrative
determination of fact that is a jurisdictional prerequisite to
bringing a Title VII action. In Iron Workers the defendant sought
discovery into the basis for the Attorney General's determination
of reasonable cause. Our Court of Appeals rejected that assertion
in language that applies with equal force to Title VII today (438
F.2d at 681, emphasis added):
In United States Building & Const. Tr. Coun.
[271 F. Supp. 447], the court stated:
The statute does not contemplate that the courts
shall make a preliminary determination of the
Attorney General's finding of reasonable cause.
Rather, the Court's function is to determine
whether the defendants have, in fact, engaged in
such a "pattern or practice" [of racial
discrimination], and to do so as expeditiously as
possible. 271 F. Supp. at 453.
We agree with this construction of the statute. The
purpose of Section 707(a) is to authorize the
Attorney General to bring a federal suit where a
"pattern or practice" — rather than a single,
isolated act — of racial discrimination is present in
an employment practice. The only issue for the Court,
therefore, is whether there has been a violation of
the statute and not whether the Attorney General had
reasonable cause to believe that there was a
violation. United States v. IBEW Local 309, supra.
A sufficient complaint, by its substantial
allegations with respect to the existence of a
"pattern or practice" of discrimination, will clearly
demonstrate the basis of the Attorney General's
"reasonable cause to believe." . . . And, under the
provisions of Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, the signature on such complaint
constitutes a certification that there is "good
ground to support" the allegation that a pattern or
practice of racial discrimination exists.
CMLW has made no showing that any different doctrine should apply
to EEOC's findings. Indeed the entire notion of "reasonable
cause," though judicially rather than legislatively stated, poses
identical policy considerations in terms of the proper division
of functions between administrator and court. Though not direct
precedent, Iron Workers is highly persuasive here.