University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Santana, et al v. Sears, Roebuck & Co. EE-NC-0100
Docket / Court 4:98-cv-00136-H ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection EEOC Study -- in sample
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
EEOC's Charlotte, NC office filed this lawsuit alleging discrimination based on national origin against the defendant, Sears, Roebuck & Co. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (Eastern Division) on 09/16/1998. The defendant operates the Sears store ... read more >
EEOC's Charlotte, NC office filed this lawsuit alleging discrimination based on national origin against the defendant, Sears, Roebuck & Co. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (Eastern Division) on 09/16/1998. The defendant operates the Sears store chain nationwide. EEOC alleged on behalf of a job applicant who was a naturalized American of Mexican origin that the defendant refused to hire him because of his national origin and specifically Spanish accent. EEOC claimed that the defendant instead hired a caucasian with less experience than the complainant. The complainant intervened in the suit.

After postponing the trial date three times, the district court judge Malcolm J. Howard granted defendant's motion for summary judgment. Judge Howard believed that although the plaintiff made a prima facie case under the McDonnell-Douglas framework, he failed to show discrimination was the real reason for defendant's refusing to hire him. Both the EEOC and the individual complainant appealed to the Fourth Circuit.

The Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded the case. The Fourth Circuit followed the Supreme Court's decision in Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc. The Fourth Circuit held that a plaintiff did not need to prove pretext for discrimination. Sufficient evidence to find that the employer's asserted justification is false is enough to survive a summary judgment motion. EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 243 F.3d 846 (4th Cir. 2001).

Upon remand of the case, the individual complainant voluntarily dismissed the case after settling with the defendant. The EEOC resolved its suit on 10/10/2001 with a consent decree with a one-year term.

Under the consent decree, the defendant was prohibited from discriminating against future job applicants on the basis of national origin. The defendant was also required to provide training and post notice about EEO laws and policies.

Justin Kanter - 06/19/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reporting
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
Private Party intervened in EEOC suit
General
Disparate Treatment
National Origin/Ethnicity
Indian
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Plaintiff Description The EEOC filing on behalf of a naturalized Mexican immigrant, who later intervened in the case
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2000 - 2001
Case Closing Year 2000
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)
4:98-cv-00136-H (E.D.N.C.) 10/10/2001
EE-NC-0100-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Complaint 09/16/1998
EE-NC-0100-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Defense Motion for Summary Judgment] 02/03/2000 (E.D.N.C.)
EE-NC-0100-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [From USCA] 03/20/2001 (243 F.3d 846)
EE-NC-0100-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Consent Decree 10/10/2001
EE-NC-0100-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges None on record
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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