Workers who settle Title VII claims against the government cannot sue the government in federal court for breach of the settlement agreement. The plaintiff brought a claim against the federal government for breaching a settlement agreement arising out of the plaintiff’s Title VII claims against the government as her employer. In order to sue the government, Congress must clearly and unambiguously waive its sovereign immunity. The Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held that, while Congress has waived sovereign immunity for discrimination actions brought against the federal government, Congress did not waive sovereign immunity for suits to enforce the settlement agreements arising out of the original discrimination claims.
See Taylor v. Geithner, 703 F.3d 328 (2013); United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 586 (1941); Brown v. GSA, 425 U.S. 820, 832 (1976); see also Patrick Dorrian, “Federal Workers Cannot Sue Under Title VII for Breach of Settlement, Sixth Circuit Rules,” 40 Empl. Discrim. Rep. (BNA) 46 (Jan. 9, 2013).
(Development Authored by Joanna Solloway)