On January 20, 2004, Cintas Corporation employees filed a lawsuit against Cintas under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and the California Unfair Business Practices Act, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs, represented initially by private counsel, asked the Court for declaratory, equitable, and compensatory relief, claiming that Cintas engaged in a pattern or practice of employment discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, and sex. Specifically, the Plaintiffs claimed that Cintas engaged in, among other practices, discriminatory hiring, recruitment, promotion, assignment, transfer, and compensation.
On October 29, 2004, the Court (Judge Jeffrey S. White) issued a stipulation and order that defined the scope of the class claims, allowed Plaintiffs to file a third amended complaint, and outlined limited discovery and the schedule for Defendant's motion to compel arbitration.
On March 22, 2005, the Court granted Defendant's motion to compel three plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims and stayed the action as to those plaintiffs pending completion of the arbitration proceedings. The Court denied Defendant's motion to dismiss to the extent it sought to dismiss those plaintiffs from the action. Ramirez v. Cintas Corp., 2005 WL 658984 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 22, 2005).
The Court granted the EEOC's motion to intervene on April 26, 2005. Finding that the subject matter was of public importance, that the litigation was still in its early stages, that neither party would be prejudiced, and that neither Plaintiff nor Defendant objected to the EEOC's intervention, the Court ordered the EEOC to file a complaint in intervention within seven days. The EEOC filed its complaint in intervention on April 27, 2005. The complaint asked the Court for equitable relief, back-pay, and punitive damages.
On September 20, 2005, after the parties filed a stipulation, the Court issued an order relating Ramirez v. Cintas with Houston v. Cintas (Northern District of California, Docket No. C-05-03145-CRB). The Houston case was also transferred to Judge White.
On November 2, 2005, the Court granted Defendant's motion to compel another plaintiff to arbitrate his claims and stayed that action as to that Plaintiffs pending completion of the arbitration proceedings. The Court denied Defendant's motion to dismiss to the extent it sought to dismiss the Plaintiff from the action. Ramirez v. Cintas Corp., 2005 WL 2894628 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 2, 2005).
On December 8, 2005, based on the parties' joint stipulation, the Court dismissed the class action representatives individual claims with prejudice and removed her as the class representative. The order specified, however, that the former class representative could participate as a member of the certified class if she qualified under the class definition.
On January 12, 2006, the Court dismissed another putative class representative's claim claims and individuals claims based on the parties' joint stipulation. The Court found that the individual Plaintiff could not serve as class representative and was not entitled to attorneys' fees and costs. The Court issued a similar order regarding another individual plaintiff on March 9, 2006.
On May 11, 2006, the Court ordered that class claims of discrimination against African Americans, Hispanics, and women in hiring for certain positions at Cintas' Rental Division, made pursuant to Title VII and § 1981, were transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. All other claims had been dismissed or stayed pending arbitration.
The arbitrator filed an opinion on September 15, 2006. The arbitrator found that the Cintas Employment Agreements permit class-wide arbitration and that there was no limitation to where the class action may be heard.
The Court denied Defendant's motion to vacate the arbitration decision on November 22, 2006. The Court found that the arbitrator had not "manifestly disregarded the law" and that the decision was not irrational. Ramirez v. Cintas Corp., 2006 WL 3388628 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 22, 2006).
The Court granted Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss the putative class action claims without prejudice so that they were able to proceed with their individual claims through arbitration on April 3, 2009. Defendant did not oppose the motion and the case was closed on January 28, 2010.Haley Waller - 08/21/2010