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Case Name Johnson v. University of Iowa EE-IA-0021
Docket / Court 3:03-cv-10062-REL-RAW ( S.D. Iowa )
State/Territory Iowa
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On June 17, 2003, a male employee of the University of Iowa filed a lawsuit against the University in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa (Davenport) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e), 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Equal Protection ... read more >
On June 17, 2003, a male employee of the University of Iowa filed a lawsuit against the University in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa (Davenport) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e), 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Iowa Constitution. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and a class of all male employees who are or who may become biological fathers and who have been or who may become subject to the parental leave policy. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and compensatory relief, asserting that the University's policy illegally discriminated against biological fathers because it failed to provide them parental leave paid out of accumulated sick leave, but provided biological mothers and adoptive parents that benefit.

On November 19, 2003, the Court (Judge Ronald E. Longstaff) granted the plaintiff's motion to certify the class.

On July 21, 2004, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the Court granted. With respect to the Title VII claim, the Court held that the policy did not illegally discriminate against biological fathers on its face or in the University's application. With respect to the federal equal protection claim, the Court applied rational basis review after finding that there was no fundamental right implicated by the policy. The Court then held that the plaintiff "[did] not sufficiently discredit the legitimate purposes set forth by Defendants" and that he "[failed] to demonstrate the lack of a rational relationship between the operation of the policy to the purpose in the policy." Johnson v. Univ. of Iowa, 408 F.Supp.2d 728, 749 (2004).

With respect to the plaintiff's claim that the policy violated the Iowa Civil Rights Act, the Court noted that "Iowa courts have used federal law for guidance in interpreting the ICRA." Id. The Court then simply applied its Title VII analysis to this claim and held that the policy did not violate the ICRA. Lastly, with respect to the Iowa Constitution Equal Protection Clause claim, the court noted that "[t]o determine the proper analysis of cases implicating the Iowa Equal Protection Clause, it is necessary to evaluate both Fitzgerald III, and Bierkamp. These are two cases where the Iowa Supreme Court departed from federal rational basis equal protection analysis." Id., 751. Specifically, the Court found that, under these cases, it must conduct "a more searching analysis of the relationship between the University's asserted purpose and the means it used to reach that purpose." Id. Ultimately, however, the court applied its findings concerning the federal protection clause and held that its findings hold "even under the more searching analysis required by the Iowa Equal Protection Clause." Id.

On appeal by the plaintiff, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the defendant on all claims. Johnson v. University, 431 F.3d 325 (8th Cir. 2005).

Jordan Rossen - 11/29/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
Defendant-type
College/University
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1981
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
State Anti-Discrimination Law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) University of Iowa
Plaintiff Description Male employee of the University of Iowa on behalf of himself and a certified class of all male employees who are or who may become biological fathers and who have been or who may become subject to the University’s Parental Leave Policy.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2006
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)
3:03-cv-10062-REL-RAW (S.D. Iowa) 01/09/2006
EE-IA-0021-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 06/17/2003
EE-IA-0021-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 10/09/2003
EE-IA-0021-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Granting Plaintiff's Motion For Class Certification) 11/19/2003 (S.D. Iowa)
EE-IA-0021-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment 07/21/2004 (2004 WL 5830547)
EE-IA-0021-0003 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Plaintiff's Brief In Support of Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Re: Liability 07/23/2004
EE-IA-0021-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment 12/16/2004 (408 F.Supp.2d 728) (S.D. Iowa)
EE-IA-0021-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Brief of Appellant 02/28/2005 (2005 WL 5628994)
EE-IA-0021-0005 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Brief of the Appellees 03/01/2005 (2005 WL 5628993)
EE-IA-0021-0006 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion Affirming the District Court's Grant of Summary Judgment to the Defendant on All Claims 12/15/2005 (431 F.3d 325)
EE-IA-0021-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Benton, William Duane (Eighth Circuit)
EE-IA-0021-0009
Lay, Donald Pomery (Eighth Circuit)
EE-IA-0021-0009
Longstaff, Ronald Earl (S.D. Iowa)
EE-IA-0021-0007 | EE-IA-0021-0008 | EE-IA-0021-9000
Melloy, Michael Joseph (Eighth Circuit, N.D. Iowa)
EE-IA-0021-0009
Walters, Ross A. (S.D. Iowa) [Magistrate]
EE-IA-0021-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Larew, James C (Iowa)
EE-IA-0021-0001 | EE-IA-0021-0002 | EE-IA-0021-0004 | EE-IA-0021-0005 | EE-IA-0021-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Carroll, George A (Iowa)
EE-IA-0021-0003 | EE-IA-0021-0006 | EE-IA-0021-9000
Miller, Thomas J. (Iowa)
EE-IA-0021-0003 | EE-IA-0021-0006
Schantz, Mark E. (Iowa)
EE-IA-0021-0003 | EE-IA-0021-0006
Other Lawyers None on record

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