University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Harris v. Hantman EE-DC-0064
Docket / Court 1:97-cv-01658-EGS ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On July 22, 1997, a group of female custodial workers filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (Equal Pay Act), and 2 U.S.C. § 1301 (Congressional Accountability Act) against their employer, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol in the United States District Court, ... read more >
On July 22, 1997, a group of female custodial workers filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (Equal Pay Act), and 2 U.S.C. § 1301 (Congressional Accountability Act) against their employer, the Office of the Architect of the Capitol in the United States District Court, District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from a private firm, the American Nurses Association, and the American Federation of Government Employees, asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and compensatory relief, claiming that they had been deprived of promotions and equal pay. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that "custodial workers" at the Office of the Architect of the Capitol were overwhelmingly female and paid less than "laborers," most of whom were male.

On July 16, 1998, the Court (Judge Emmet G. Sullivan) dismissed Plaintiffs' Title VII and EPA claims but held that they could file an amended complaint and assert claims under the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA). Harris v. Office of the Architect of the Capitol, 16 F. Supp. 2d 8 (D. D.C. 1998).

On November 3, 2000, the Court granted Plaintiffs' motion to join additional parties to the lawsuit.

The case was certified as a class action on February 29, 2000, with the following class definition (text taken from Order Approving Settlement, as an order certifying the class is not available electronically):

"All women custodial workers employed by the Architect of the Capitol on or after January 23, 1996, the effective date of the Congressional Accountability Act, including those who terminated their employment or retired after that date and who were hired after that date, with respect to the cause of action alleged herein as violative of § 201(a) and (b) of the Congressional Accountability Act, 2 U.S.C. § 1311 (a), (b), which incorporate the rights and remedies of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 and other sections cited therein, and make them applicable to the defendant and the legislative branch generally."

On July 20, 2001, the court granted the parties' joint motion for preliminary approval of their proposed Settlement Agreement and set a fairness hearing for September 28, 2001.

The Court approved the parties' settlement and dismissed the case with prejudice on October 18, 2001. The settlement agreement provided the following relief: promotions, wage increases, retroactive promotions, and increased retirement contributions.

Haley Waller - 06/26/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Discrimination-area
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)
Defendant(s) Allan Hantman
Plaintiff Description Female custodial workers employed at the Office of the Architect of the Capitol
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2001
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)
1:97-cv-01658-EGS (D.D.C.) 11/01/2001
EE-DC-0064-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
OPINION AND ORDER (Requiring that claims be brought under Congressional Accountability Act) 07/16/1998 (16 F.Supp.2d 8) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0064-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
ORDER (Allowing joinder) 11/03/2000 (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0064-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER (Approving settlement) 10/18/2001
EE-DC-0064-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Sullivan, Emmet G. (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0064-0001 | EE-DC-0064-0002 | EE-DC-0064-0003 | EE-DC-0064-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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