University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc. EE-CA-0314
Docket / Court C-74-1884 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
Female employees of Pan American World Airways, Inc. brought this suit on August 20, 1973, in the Central District of California under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They alleged that Pan Am had engaged in sex discrimination. Specifically, the named female employees claimed that when ... read more >
Female employees of Pan American World Airways, Inc. brought this suit on August 20, 1973, in the Central District of California under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They alleged that Pan Am had engaged in sex discrimination. Specifically, the named female employees claimed that when they became pregnant, Pan Am required them to take a pregnancy leave during a specific period and denied them employment benefits and seniority during their leave. The plaintiffs sought class certification, which was granted on January 24, 1977 by Judge William Schwarzer as to all female flight attendants who were employed by Pan Am after October 24, 1972. Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 74 F.R.D. 24 (C.D. Cal. 1977).

The case proceeded to trial, after which the District Court held that Pan Am's policies requiring commencement of leave upon pregnancy (Stop Policy) and continuation of leave for sixty days after birth (Start Policy) constituted prima facie sex discrimination but that both policies were justified as business necessities and bona fide occupational qualifications. The district court held that neither the seniority policy nor the sick leave policy constituted a prima facie violation. Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 437 F.Supp. 413 (N.D. Cal. 1977), supplemented in 441 F.Supp. 881 (N.D. Cal. 1977)

The class action plaintiffs did not appeal the district court's sick leave holding but did appeal the violation of the Stop and Start Policies and the Seniority Policy to the Ninth Circuit. In 1980, the Court of Appeals (Farris, J.) agreed with the District Court that the Stop Policy, although prima facie sex discrimination, was justified by safety considerations. It remanded for additional fact-finding on the Start Policy. It also held that the Seniority Policy constituted prima facie sex discrimination and instructed the district court to determine whether Pan Am established that its policy was justified as either a business necessity or a bona fide occupation qualification. Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 649 F.2d 670 (9th Cir. 1980). Judge Schroeder dissented, and would have held all three policies in violation of Title VII.

The outcome of this action on remand is unknown.

- 04/15/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-area
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Pregnancy discrimination
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Impact
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Pan American World Airways, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Female flight attendants employed by Pan Am who complained that the company's pregnancy policy discriminated against female employees.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc. 01/24/1977 (74 F.R.D. 24) (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0314-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum and Decision of the Facts 09/02/1977 (437 F.Supp. 413) (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0314-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM OF DECISION 12/19/1977 (441 F.Supp. 881) (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0314-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion 06/22/1981 (649 F.2d 670)
EE-CA-0314-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Schwarzer, William W (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0314-0001 | EE-CA-0314-0002 | EE-CA-0314-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chandler, Jo Ann (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Davis, Nancy L. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Dunlap, Mary (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Erickson, John H. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Graff, Joan Messing (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Hansen, John T. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Hewitt, Henry S. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Ince, Nancy Scott (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Lipson, David R. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Russell, Dayne Lee (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Steinbock, Mariam (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Sweet, Clifford (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Wallace, Robert B. (District of Columbia)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Yank, Ronald (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Barron, George J. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Beeson, Duane B. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Diedrich, William L. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Hoeg, Karen L. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
McFeely, Stephen A. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Odle, James N. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Paras, James C. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Phillips, Barbara Ashley (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Rosenfeld, David Albert (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Rotman, David A. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Venning, Robert S. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Waysman, William H. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Wheeler, Raymond L. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Wood, Robert N. (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Zebrack, Joel (California)
EE-CA-0314-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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