University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Cooper v. Aluminum Co. of America EE-IA-0022
Docket / Court 3:95-cv-10074-REL ( S.D. Iowa )
State/Territory Iowa
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On June 12, 1995, seventeen black employees of the Aluminum Company of America ("Alcoa") filed a class-action lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq.) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa (Davenport). The plaintiffs, represented by ... read more >
On June 12, 1995, seventeen black employees of the Aluminum Company of America ("Alcoa") filed a class-action lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq.) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa (Davenport). The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive and other forms of relief for alleged discrimination on behalf of all black employees or applicants for employment at the Davenport Works branch of Alcoa between January 1, 1972 and May 12, 1997. Specifically, the plaintiffs raised disparate impact issues, alleging that Alcoa discriminated against them with respect to hiring, promotions, assignments, training, and other terms of employment based upon their gender and race.

On September 11, 1997, the Court (Magistrate Judge Celeste F. Bremer) issued an Order and Final Judgment Approving Settlement. In the settlement, Alcoa agreed to pay $212,000 to the class members, to be distributed at the class counsel's discretion. In addition, Alcoa agreed (1) to correct hiring procedures determined to have a disparate impact on black employees which were not validated; (2) to create the "Equal Access Committee," which was to review and sign off on all discharges of black employees; (3) to implement a more strict racial harassment policy; (4) to expand its diversity and racial tolerance training; (4) to make test scores available to all test takers upon request; and (5) in terms of promotion, to interview all black applicants in the department where the vacancy arises for all areas in which Davenport is underutilized.

The settlement's duration was six years from the date of approval by the Court, although on September 17, 2003, the Court granted the plaintiffs' motion to extend court jurisdiction over the settlement through October 31, 2003.

Jordan Rossen - 07/17/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Hire
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Neutral/Positive Reference
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Promotion
Provide antidiscrimination training
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Hiring
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Promotion
Testing
Training
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Aluminum Co. of America
Plaintiff Description African-American employees or applicants for employment at the Davenport Works branch of Aluminum Co. of America ("Alcoa") at any time between 01/01/1972 and 05/12/1997.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1997 - 2003
Case Closing Year 1999
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)
3:95-cv-10074-REL (S.D. Iowa) 09/17/2003
EE-IA-0022-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order and Final Judgment Approving Settlement 09/11/1997
EE-IA-0022-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bremer, Celeste F. (S.D. Iowa) [Magistrate]
EE-IA-0022-0001 | EE-IA-0022-9000
Longstaff, Ronald Earl (S.D. Iowa)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Avsharian, Paul R. (Michigan)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Braud, Walter D. (Illinois)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Combs, Nancy (Iowa)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Conlin, Roxanne Barton (Iowa)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Erdahl, Clemens A. (Iowa)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Glasson, Matthew (Iowa)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Nestor, Bruce Douglas (Minnesota)
EE-IA-0022-9000
O'Brien, Dorothy (Iowa)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Pitt, Michael L. (Michigan)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Appel, Brent R (Iowa)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Danaher, Maria G. (Pennsylvania)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Keane, Margaret A. (Pennsylvania)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Klunk, Wendy L. (California)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Orr, Cheryl D. (California)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Rohback, Thomas G. (Connecticut)
EE-IA-0022-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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