University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Gonzalez v. Abercrombie & Fitch, Inc. EE-CA-0278
Docket / Court 03-2817 SI ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On June 16, 2003, multiple employees filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, against ... read more >
On June 16, 2003, multiple employees filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, against Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief, restoration of jobs or front pay benefits, back pay, exemplary and punitive damages, and attorneys' fees, alleging that Abercrombie & Fitch Management Co. had racially discriminated against potential and active employees. The plaintiffs also sought to represent a class of such employees. Specifically, they contended that Abercrombie was systematically discriminatory, subjective, standardless, and arbitrary with respect to hiring, firing, job assignment, compensation, promotion to in-store managerial positions, and conditions of employment by enforcing a nationwide corporate policy of preferring white employees for in-store sales and management positions, desirable job assignments, and favorable work schedules.

The EEOC also concluded that Abercrombie was in violation of Title VII and engaged in concurrent civil action against Abercrombie. According to the PACER docket, on November 12, 2004, the case was consolidated with two EEOC cases; EEOC v. Abercrombie and Fitch and West v. Abercrombie and Fitch. Now charges of discrimination against women as well as minorities were included in the complaint.

According to the fourth amended complaint, the plaintiffs sought to represent a class of people applying to and working within Abercrombie & Fitch who faced discrimination due to their race, color, and/or national origin since February 24, 1999. On November 16, 2004, the Court certified a settlement class. On April 14, 2005 the court (Judge Susan Illston) approved the consent decree. In this settlement agreement, Abercrombie was required to pay $40 million to class members, to pay attorney fees, and to implement extensive new policies and programs that promote equal employment and diversity amongst employees. Though the case was officially terminated on April 15, 2005, motions to seal and compliance reports have been filed through 2007.

Emily Kuznick - 04/08/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Utilize objective job description
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Hiring
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Private Suit Related / Consolidated with EEOC Suit
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Asian/Pacific Islander
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Abercrombie & Fitch
Plaintiff Description People applying to and working within Abercrombie & Fitch who faced discrimination due to their race, color, and/or national origin
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Unknown
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 2005 - 2011
Case Closing Year 2005
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-02817-SI (N.D. Cal.) 10/02/2007
EE-CA-0278-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 06/16/2003 (2003 WL 23687870)
EE-CA-0278-0002 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Fourth Amended Complaint 11/08/2004
EE-CA-0278-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Answer to Fourth Amended Complaint 11/11/2004
EE-CA-0278-0010 PDF | Detail
Motion for Settlement 04/11/2005
EE-CA-0278-0011 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree 04/14/2005
EE-CA-0278-0001 PDF | Detail
Judges Illston, Susan Yvonne (N.D. Cal.)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Alexander, Elizabeth A. (Tennessee)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Bolden, Victor A. (New York)
EE-CA-0278-9000
Brown, Willis E. (Illinois)
EE-CA-0278-9000
Cervantez, Eve Hedy (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Clobes, Bryan L (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Cohen, Hilary (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
D'Urso, Martin J. (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Dermody, Kelly M. (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Drieband, Eric S. (District of Columbia)
EE-CA-0278-0001
Duarte, Lisa (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0011
Fields, Cleo (Louisiana)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Forrester, Melody (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Gold, Sidney L. (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Goldstein, Barry L (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0011
Gottesman, Zachary (Ohio)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011
Greenberg, Traci M. (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011
Keller, James (Ohio)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Kohn, Joseph C. (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Lee, Bill Lann (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Lee, Jack W. (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Lee, James L. (District of Columbia)
EE-CA-0278-0001
Lerner, Jeffrey D. (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Liberto, Diana (Pennsylvania)
EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Nanda, Jyoti (California)
EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Ota, John (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0011
Park, Minah (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Reams, Gwendolyn Young (District of Columbia)
EE-CA-0278-0001
Saenz, Thomas A. (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Sagafi, Jahan C (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Sekhon, Nirej S. (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Simons, Shaheena Ahmad (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Su, Julie A (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011 | EE-CA-0278-9000
West-Faulcon, Kimberly (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0002 | EE-CA-0278-0009 | EE-CA-0278-0011
Defendant's Lawyers Anderson, Sandra J. (Ohio)
EE-CA-0278-0010
Dexter, Douglas Evans (California)
EE-CA-0278-0010 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Gochanour, Gregory M. (Illinois)
EE-CA-0278-0001
Kearney, Sandra A. (California)
EE-CA-0278-0010 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Knueve, Mark A. (Ohio)
EE-CA-0278-0010
McKinney, Patrick R. (California)
EE-CA-0278-9000
Park, Anna Y. (California)
EE-CA-0278-0001
Ridgley, Thomas Brennan (Ohio)
EE-CA-0278-0001 | EE-CA-0278-0010 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Young, Douglas R. (California)
EE-CA-0278-0010 | EE-CA-0278-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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