University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Little v. Washington Metro. Area Transit Auth. EE-DC-0075
Docket / Court No. 1:14-cv-01289 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Washington Lawyers' Committee
Case Summary
On July 30, 2014, African American employees with criminal records filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and its contractors. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest and ... read more >
On July 30, 2014, African American employees with criminal records filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and its contractors. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest and private counsel, asked the court for class certification, a declaratory judgment that the practices of the WMATA and its contractors are unlawful and violate 42 U.S.C. §2000e. They also requested a permanent injunction preventing the Defendants from engaging in the current employment practices regarding criminal history, an order that the Defendants carry out employment polices that would comply with guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and back pay and compensatory damages for emotional distress.

The plaintiffs allege that the employment policies of the WMATA denying employment based on past criminal history violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They allege that since African Americans are more likely than the general population to have a criminal background, the policy discriminates against African Americans. They argue that members of the proposed class have been unable to obtain employment they were qualified for, were terminated from employment even though competence was demonstrated, were unable able to apply for promotions for fear of being terminated, and were unable to take leave due to the fear that they would be unable to return to work.

Since the lawsuit was recently filed, class certification is still pending.

Steve Vnuk - 10/09/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Transportation
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Hiring
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action State Anti-Discrimination Law
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authoirty
Plaintiff Description Employees or prospective employees of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority who denied employment, denied a promotion, had their employment terminated, or were unable to take leave due to past criminal history.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Washington Lawyers' Committee
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
1:14-cv-01289 (D.D.C.) 09/30/2014
EE-DC-0075-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 07/30/2014
EE-DC-0075-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Collyer, Rosemary M. (FISC, D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0075-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alarcon Pelham, Narda Lugo (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0075-0001 | EE-DC-0075-9000
Corkery, Dennis A. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0075-0001 | EE-DC-0075-9000
Freedman, John A. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0075-0001 | EE-DC-0075-9000
Handley, Matthew K. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0075-0001 | EE-DC-0075-9000
Ifill, Sherrilyn (New York)
EE-DC-0075-0001
Mar, Ria Tabacco (New York)
EE-DC-0075-0001
Moore, ReNika C (New York)
EE-DC-0075-0001 | EE-DC-0075-9000
Smith, Johnathan James (New York)
EE-DC-0075-0001 | EE-DC-0075-9000
Swarns, Christina (New York)
EE-DC-0075-0001
Weddle, Brandie N. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0075-0001 | EE-DC-0075-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Black, Richard W. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0075-9000
Kraft, Kathleen Elizabeth (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0075-9000
Levin, Harvey A. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0075-9000
Petkovich, Michael N. (Virginia)
EE-DC-0075-9000
Stief, Gerard Joseph (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0075-9000
Vaccaro, Amanda Leigh Scott (Virginia)
EE-DC-0075-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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