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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. Baton Rouge EE-LA-0099
Docket / Court 3:97-cv-00264-JVP ( M.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On April 1, 1998 the United States Department of Justice ("D.O.J.") filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq., in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana against the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. The D.O.J. asked the court for injunctive and ... read more >
On April 1, 1998 the United States Department of Justice ("D.O.J.") filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq., in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana against the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. The D.O.J. asked the court for injunctive and monetary relief alleging that the defendant had violated Title VII by discriminating against janitorial employees on the basis of their sex, female.



In June 1992, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board decided to reduce the hours for Janitor 1 employees from 6 to 4 hours and a reduce their benefits. The employees who were classified under the Janitor 1 designation were mostly female. The other janitorial designations 2 and 3, which were filled by mostly males, were left unaffected. In June 1993, 46 female employees, including the plaintiffs here, filed suit against East Baton Rouge Parish. The lawsuit alleged that the reduction in hours and benefits had a disparate impact on female employees.

Shortly after the filing of the state court lawsuit, the D.O.J. began an investigation into the hiring and promotion procedures of the School Board in regards to placement of women into the positions of Janitor II and III. In June 1997, Judge John V. Parker entered into record a consent decree which stipulated: (1) compensatory relief by offering certain individuals in rank-order according to their remedial seniority date beginning with the eligible individual with the earliest seniority date; (2) the School Board shall make employer pension fund contributions retroactive to the claimant's remedial seniority date - subject to the claimant making her retroactive employee contribution; (3) interest that has accrued on the pension fund shall be paid on a pro-rata basis; (4) individual monetary relief awards shall be administered on a case by case basis. In 1996 the school board began evaluating all positions within the district with the intent to eliminate the inefficient use of resources.

Following this evaluation it was decided that the three tiered janitorial placement system would be replaced with two categories, janitor and lead janitor both of which would be full time employees. It was also determined that janitors were overpaid which resulted in a new pay scale and decreased hourly pay for the janitors. Testing procedures were implemented in deciding the new designations for the Janitor I positions involving a "practical" test involving the use of maintenance equipment and a reading test. The reading test could be passed with an eighth grade reading level, a standard deemed necessary for safety concerns involving the use of chemicals and equipment. In addition, the consent decree made specific mention that part-time Janitor I employees be allowed to apply for the new janitor position if they met the qualifications. Of the plaintiffs, only one was able to pass the reading part of the application process, though all passed the practical part.

On November 18, 1998 the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit alleging that the School Board discriminated against them on the basis of their sex, and retaliated against them for their participation in the state lawsuit. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that: (1) the establishment of the conditions, qualifications, and job description for the new full-time janitor position, including the requirement that the applicant pass both the practical and reading tests before becoming eligible for employment in the position, was done by the defendants " with the intent to retaliate against female employees who had filed a lawsuit with the school board [or] alternatively, the conditions that [the defendants] placed on this new position had a discriminatory impact on the plaintiffs."

On September 15, 2000 the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment as to the plaintiff's claims under Title VII and under their claim of qualified immunity. On June 5, 2001 the court granted the defendant's motions and held that the plaintiff's allegations failed to satisfy the requisite elements of a Title VII retaliation claim. Specifically, the court held that the actions complained of by the plaintiffs were not "adverse employment actions." The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the District Court's decision.

James Floyd - 11/15/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-area
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Seniority
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) East Baton Rouge Parish School Board
Plaintiff Description United States on behalf of female janitorial employees
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:97-cv-00264-JVP (M.D. La.) 05/26/1999
EE-LA-0099-9000 PDF | Detail
3:98-cv-00974-JVP (M.D. La.) 03/24/2003
EE-LA-0099-9001 PDF | Detail
General Documents
Complaint 04/01/1997
EE-LA-0099-0002 PDF | Detail
Order Scheduling Hearing to Consider Objections to Proposed Individual Relief Awards 12/11/1998 (M.D. La.)
EE-LA-0099-0009 PDF | Detail
Order Approving Individual Relief Rewards 03/04/1999 (M.D. La.)
EE-LA-0099-0001 PDF | Detail
First Amended Complaint 05/27/1999
EE-LA-0099-0003 PDF | Detail
Order 06/07/1999 (M.D. La.)
EE-LA-0099-0004 PDF | Detail
Ruling on Motions 07/30/1999 (M.D. La.)
EE-LA-0099-0005 PDF | Detail
Ruling on Motion for Summary Judgment 06/05/2001 (M.D. La.)
EE-LA-0099-0006 PDF | Detail
Ruling 12/12/2001 (M.D. La.)
EE-LA-0099-0007 PDF | Detail
Judgment 03/13/2003 (320 F.3d 570)
EE-LA-0099-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Clement, Edith Brown (Fifth Circuit, E.D. La.)
EE-LA-0099-0008
Davis, W. Eugene (Fifth Circuit, W.D. La.)
EE-LA-0099-0008
Garza, Emilio M. (Fifth Circuit, W.D. Tex.)
EE-LA-0099-0008
Noland, Christine Ann (M.D. La.) [Magistrate]
EE-LA-0099-0004
Parker, John Victor (M.D. La.)
EE-LA-0099-0001 | EE-LA-0099-0005 | EE-LA-0099-0006 | EE-LA-0099-0007 | EE-LA-0099-0009 | EE-LA-0099-9000 | EE-LA-0099-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Curran, Stephen J. (District of Columbia)
EE-LA-0099-9000
Lavin, Luis A (District of Columbia)
EE-LA-0099-0001 | EE-LA-0099-0009 | EE-LA-0099-9000
Murphy, Karen D (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0099-9001
Piacsek, Michael A (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0099-9001
Picard, Nancy (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0099-0001 | EE-LA-0099-0002 | EE-LA-0099-0003 | EE-LA-0099-9001
Robein, Louis L Jr (Florida)
EE-LA-0099-0003 | EE-LA-0099-9001
Thompson, James Patrick (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0099-0001 | EE-LA-0099-9000 | EE-LA-0099-9001
Wilkes, Andrea J (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0099-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Sills, Kenneth F. (Louisiana)
EE-LA-0099-0001 | EE-LA-0099-0009 | EE-LA-0099-9000 | EE-LA-0099-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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