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Case Name Donnelly v. Glickman EE-CA-0316
Docket / Court CV-95-04389-DLJ ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Case Summary
This is the second Title VII class action suit brought by female employees of the United States Forest Service. The first was Bernardi v. Yeutter: filed in 1973 in the Northern District of California, a female employee, suing on ... read more >
This is the second Title VII class action suit brought by female employees of the United States Forest Service. The first was Bernardi v. Yeutter: filed in 1973 in the Northern District of California, a female employee, suing on behalf of herself and other women employed by the U.S. Forest Service, alleged gender discrimination in the hiring and promotion process. That suit led to a consent decree (the Bernardi consent decree), approved by the court in 1981. The Bernardi consent decree set hiring and employment goals for the Forest Service and was in effect, after several extensions, until 1994.

On December 8, 1995, shortly after the expiration of the Bernardi consent decree, two female employees of the Forest Service filed this complaint in the Northern District of California, alleging that women in the Forest Service, particularly those hired under the Bernardi consent decree, were subjected to sex discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environments, and reprisal as a result of a culture of disrespect that flourished in response to the decree's affirmative action measures. Their original complaint also included claims of gender discrimination in hiring and promotion; however, those claims were deleted in an amended complaint filed February 15, 1996. On February 24, 1997, the district court certified the class of female employees:
All past and current non-supervisory female employees of the U.S. Forest Service Region 5 who have been or are subject to a sexually hostile work environment at any time since [February 1, 1994,] and who are seeking equitable relief only.
On May 14, 1997, four male employees of the Forest Service, claiming reverse discrimination in hiring and promotion, moved to intervene on behalf of themselves and all other employees not within the plaintiff class. On August 12, 1997, the district court denied the motion, and on October 22, 1998, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial, holding that the male employees had no "significant protectable interest" in any of the plaintiffs' potential remedies, as the plaintiffs no longer sought any affirmative action remedies. 159 F.3d 405. On August 13, 1999, the National Federation of Employees, Forest Service Counsel also moved to intervene; though it is not clear from the record why. The motion was opposed by both parties and denied on October 13, 1999.

After a period of negotiations, on February 6, 2021, the court approved a second consent decree (the Donnelly Settlement Agreement) that dedicated resources and staff toward eliminating discrimination in the workplace, including mandated training for employees on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) issues, instituting a process for prompt investigation of harassment and reprisal, clearing the backlog of current EEO cases, removing or demoting all managers who have violated the agency's policies, and establishing compliance with EEO guidelines as a critical element of manager performance standards. Named plaintiff Lesa Donnelly was made monitor of the settlement agreement, originally intended to be in effect from January 8, 2002 to January 8, 2005.

However, on June 5, 2003, plaintiffs filed a motion for contempt on the basis that the Forest Service had failed to approve its Class Representative member of the Monitoring Council for five months, as well as alleging further noncompliances with the settlement agreement. Though the court denied the motion for contempt; it did toll the government an additional twelve months, extending the settlement agreement until January 8, 2006. At that point, the agreement expired and the case ended.

According to Congressional testimony given by Donnelly in 2016,
[Once the agreement was no longer in effect, t]hey dropped just about everything. It was incredible. The consent decree ended in 2006, and within a couple days I got a call from one of the women that was in a meeting. They announced that it was over, and one of the men stood up and they clapped and they said, we're back. And shortly after that, the agency dropped almost everything that was in that consent decree.
This case is now closed.

Sean Drohan - 08/03/2021

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Provide antidiscrimination training
Retaliation Prohibition
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Sex discrimination
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) US Forest Service
Plaintiff Description Women employed by the U.S. Forest Service
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
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 2001 - 2006
Filed 12/08/1995
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing EE-CA-0368 : Bernardi v. Yeutter (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Gendered Harassment in the U.S. Forest Service
Women Leading Change, Vol. 3 No. 1 (Oct. 10, 2018), at 73
Date: Oct. 10, 2018
By: Emma Weisner (Tulane University Faculty)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
U.S. Court of Appeals
EE-CA-0316-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: Westlaw
N.D. Cal.
EE-CA-0316-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
U.S. Court of Appeals
Opinion (Circuit Court) (159 F.3d 405)
EE-CA-0316-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
N.D. Cal.
Order [ECF# 292]
EE-CA-0316-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Graber, Susan (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Jensen, Delwen Lowell (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0316-0002 | EE-CA-0316-9000
Woodruff, Owen E. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Yamauchi, Brad (California) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0316-9000 | EE-CA-0316-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Edney, Marsha S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Issenberg, Adam (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-CA-0316-9000 | EE-CA-0316-9001
Other Lawyers Demas, Louis (California) show/hide docs

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