University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Butler v. Home Depot EE-CA-0277
Docket / Court 3:94-cv-04335 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On December 20, 1994, female employees and applicants throughout Home Depot's West Coast Division filed a class action against Home Depot in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. This action arises under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ... read more >
On December 20, 1994, female employees and applicants throughout Home Depot's West Coast Division filed a class action against Home Depot in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. This action arises under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Plaintiffs charged that Home Depot engaged in a continuing policy and practice of denying employment, desirable job assignments, training and promotional opportunities, compensation and other terms and conditions of employment to its female employees in its Western Division. In general, plaintiffs alleged that Home Depot reserved the most desirable work assignments and positions, and the training necessary to achieve them and to advance within the company, for its male employees. In addition, plaintiffs claimed that Home Depot discriminated against its female employees in pay, working conditions and other terms of employment.

Plaintiffs sought an end to these discriminatory practices, an award of back pay and front pay, as well as damages and injunctive relief, including rightful place relief for all class members.

On January 25, 1996, the Court (Judge Susan Illston) certified the case as a class action.

After the discovery cut-off, Home Depot filed three motions: (1) a motion for summary judgment on the claims of female applicants; (2) a motion for summary judgment on the claims of female Associates; and (3) a motion for decertification of the applicant and employee classes. On August 29, 1997, the Court denied the motion for decertification and the motion for summary judgment on the claims of female applicants. As to the motion for summary judgment on the claims of female Associates, the Court dismissed claims relating to training and to non-store based Associates, but denied the motion in all other respects.

On September 5, 1997, Plaintiffs and Home Depot began Court-ordered mediation negotiations with the assistance of an experienced mediator, Hunter Hughes of Atlanta, Georgia. Under the supervision of the mediator, the parties reached an agreement. The terms of the Parties' agreement are contained in a Consent Decree, which was approved by Judge Susan Illston on January 14, 1998.

Pursuant to the Consent Decree, the case was settled for $87.5 million and extensive injunctive relief including a five year compliance period in which Home Depot was to make significant changes to its personnel practices nationwide to ensure equal employment opportunities for all employees and to increase the number of women in sales and management positions.

On June 24, 2002, the copurt (Judge Susan Illston) issued the Order to terminate the Consent Decree.

Xin Chen - 05/08/2011


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Apology
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Hire
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Promotion
Retaliation Prohibition
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Utilize objective job description
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Training
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Home Depot, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Female employees and applicants throughout Home Depot's West Coast Division.
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 Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1998 - 2002
Case Closing Year 1998
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−02182 (N.D. Cal.) 05/07/2001
EE-CA-0277-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:94−cv−04335 (N.D. Cal.) 12/29/2009
EE-CA-0277-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 12/19/1994 (1994 WL 16515435)
EE-CA-0277-0002 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order Certifying Class Action 01/24/1996 (1996 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 3370) (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0277-0003 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion 08/29/1997 (1997 WL 605754 / 1997 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 16296) (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0277-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Consent Decree 01/14/1998
EE-CA-0277-0001 PDF | Detail
Judges Illston, Susan Yvonne (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0277-0001 | EE-CA-0277-0003 | EE-CA-0277-0004 | EE-CA-0277-9000 | EE-CA-0277-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alexander, Michelle (California)
EE-CA-0277-9001
Baller, Morris J. (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001 | EE-CA-0277-9000 | EE-CA-0277-9001
Borgen, David (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001 | EE-CA-0277-0002 | EE-CA-0277-9001
Brown, William H. III (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0277-9001
Cabraser, Elizabeth J. (California)
EE-CA-0277-0002
Carty, M. Christine (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0277-9001
Dardarian, Linda M. (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001
Demchak, Teresa (California)
EE-CA-0277-0002
Dermody, Kelly M. (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001 | EE-CA-0277-0002
Finberg, James M. (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001 | EE-CA-0277-0002 | EE-CA-0277-9000 | EE-CA-0277-9001
Goldstein, Barry L (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001 | EE-CA-0277-0002 | EE-CA-0277-9001
Lee, Jack W. (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001
Parker, Trina N. (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001
Ram, Michael F. (California)
EE-CA-0277-0002
Saperstein, Guy T (California)
EE-CA-0277-0002
Selbin, Jonathan D. (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001
Smith, Lisa S. (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0277-9001
Tocci, Gary M. (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0277-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Alpert, Jonathan L. (Florida)
EE-CA-0277-9001
Alvarez, Fred (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001 | EE-CA-0277-9001
Brown, Thomas P. IV (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001 | EE-CA-0277-9000 | EE-CA-0277-9001
Exall, Marian (California)
EE-CA-0277-9001
Gitt, Cynthia (California)
EE-CA-0277-0001 | EE-CA-0277-9000 | EE-CA-0277-9001
Kurzweil, Deborah R. (Georgia)
EE-CA-0277-0001
Matchett, Samuel M. (Georgia)
EE-CA-0277-0001
Morgan, Janet Louise (California)
EE-CA-0277-9000 | EE-CA-0277-9001
Smith, Larry (Georgia)
EE-CA-0277-0001
Wymer, John F. III (Georgia)
EE-CA-0277-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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