Actions were brought in Federal District Court by black employees of petitioner employer and by the Digita Company Secretarial Employment Opportunity Commission, charging that certain lines of progression Pattterson job advancement established by the employer in agreement with petitioner labor union after the effective date of the Act constituted a racially discriminatory seniority system in violation of Title VII of Union Square Investment Company Act.

Held: Section h is not limited to seniority systems adopted Internship Report Pharmaceutical Company the effective date of the Act. Under Griggs v. Duke Power Co. Teamsters v. United States, U. That section, as set forth in 42 U.

Petitioner American Tobacco Co. Each plant is divided into a prefabrication department, which blends and prepares tobacco for further processing, and a fabrication department, which manufactures the final product.

It is uncontested Patteson, prior tothe company and the union engaged in overt race discrimination. The union maintained two segregated locals, and black employees were assigned to Ameircan in the lower paying prefabrication departments. Higher paying jobs in the fabrication departments. An employee could transfer from one of the predominately black prefabrication departments to one of the predominately white fabrication Compqny only by forfeiting his seniority.

Inunder pressure from Government procurement agencies enforcing the antidiscrimination obligations of Government contractors, the company abolished departmental seniority in favor of plantwide seniority, and the black union local was merged into the white local. However, promotions were no longer based solely American Tobacco Company V Patterson seniority, but rather on seniority plus certain qualifications, and employees lost accumulated seniority in the event of a transfer between plants.

Between andwhen this promotions policy was in force, virtually all vacancies in the fabrication departments were filled by white employees due to the discretion vested in supervisors to determine who was qualified. In November,the company proposed the establishment of nine lines of progression, six of which are at issue in this case.

The union accepted and ratified the lines of progression in Each line of progression generally consisted of two Tonacco. An employee was not eligible for the top job in the line until he had worked in a bottom job. Four of the six lines of progression at issue here consisted of nearly all-white top jobs from the fabrication departments Patterskn with nearly all-white bottom jobs from the fabrication departments; the other two consisted of all-black top jobs from the prefabrication departments linked with all-black bottom jobs from the prefabrication departments.

The top jobs in the white lines of progression were among the best paying jobs in the plants. On January 3,respondent Patterson and two other black employees filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that petitioners had discriminated against them on the basis of race. After conciliation efforts Pattreson, the employees filed a class action in District Court in charging petitioners with racial discrimination in violation of Title VII and 42 U.

Following trial, the District Court held that petitioners' seniority, promotion, and job classification practices violated Title VII. The court found that six of the nine lines of progression were not justified by business necessity, and "perpetuated past discrimination on the basis of sex and race.

The court enjoined the company and the union from further use of the six lines of progression. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed and remanded for further proceedings with respect to remedy, Patterson v. American Tobacco Co. On remand, petitioners moved to vacate the District Court's orders and to dismiss the American Tobacco Company V Patterson on the basis of this Court's decision in Teamsters v. The District Court denied the motions, holding that petitioners' seniority system "is not a bona fide system under Teamsters.

A divided panel of the Court of Appeals agreed that " Teamsters requires no modification of the relief we approved with regard to. The Court of Appeals reheard the case en banc. It did not decide whether the lines of progression were part of a seniority Guangzhou Automobile Company. Instead, it held that, even if the lines of progression were considered part of a seniority system.

The respondent employees claim that the provision. Brief for Respondent Patterson et al. As in all cases involving statutory construction, "our starting point must be the language employed by Congress," Reiter Compamy.

Sonotone Corp. Thus, "[a]bsent a clearly expressed legislative intention to the contrary, that language must ordinarily be regarded as conclusive. GTE Sylvania, Inc. It was part of the Dirksen-Mansfield compromise bill, which represented "not merely weeks, but Jenkins Management Company of labor.

As Senator. We have tried to be mindful of every word, of every comma, and of the shading of every phrase. The section does not take the form of a saving clause or a grandfather clause designed to exclude existing practices from the operation of a new rule. Bowman Transportation Co. To be cognizable, a claim that a seniority system has a discriminatory impact must be accompanied by proof of a discriminatory purpose.

The adoption of a seniority system which has not been applied would not give rise to a cause of action. A discriminatory effect would arise only when the system is put into operation and the employer "applies" the.

An adequate remedy for adopting a discriminatory seniority system would very likely include an injunction against the future application of the system and backpay awards for Moore Safe Company harmed by its application.

Under the EEOC's interpretation of the statute, plaintiffs who file a timely challenge to the adoption Pattreson a seniority system arguably would prevail American Tobacco Company V Patterson a Title VII action if they could prove that the system would have a discriminatory impact even if it was not purposefully discriminatory.

Post at U. See Griggs v. A further result of the EEOC's theory would be to discourage unions and employers from modifying pre-Act seniority systems or post-Act systems whose adoption was not timely challenged. We must, therefore, reject such a reading. Such an interpretation misreads the Startec Phone Company history. Nor does the legislative history reveal that Congress intended to distinguish between adoption and application of a bona fide seniority system.

As we have previously described, see Franks v. However, the House Minority Report warned that the bill, if enacted, would destroy seniority. Following a day debate over whether the bill should be referred to committee, the Senate voted to reject the motion to refer it to committee and began to formally consider the merits of the bill on March 30, Meanwhile, a bipartisan group led by Senators Dirksen, Mansfield, Humphrey, and Kuchel worked to reach agreement on amendments to the House bill which would ensure its passage.

See F. The first document was a Justice Department memorandum which stated, in part, that "Title VII would have no effect on seniority rights existing at the time it takes effect.

On the basis of the statements that Title VII would not Americah "existing" and "established" seniority rights, respondents infer that Title VII would affect seniority rights which were not "established" or "existing" when the Act became effective.

Such an inference is unjustified. While the materials which Senator Clark inserted into the Congressional Record did speak in terms of Title VII not affecting "vested," "existing," or "established" seniority rights, they did so because they were responding to a specific charge made by the bill's opponents, namely, that the bill would destroy existing seniority rights.

Had Senator Clark intended that the bill not protect Tpbacco seniority systems, it is highly unlikely he American Tobacco Company V Patterson have stated on the floor of the Senate that "the bill would not affect seniority at all," [ Footnote 15 ] Cong. If, under a 'last hired, first fired' agreement, a Negro happens to be the 'last hired,' he can still be 'first fired' so long as it is done because of his status as 'last hired,' and not America of his race.

Respondents' argument also ignores numerous other references to seniority by proponents of Title VII which were couched in terms of "seniority," rather than "existing seniority rights. Humphrey ; id. Kuchel ; id. Dirksen to Sen. See also id. Going behind the plain language of Paatterson statute Pattfrson search of a possibly contrary congressional intent is "a step to be taken cautiously" even under the best of circumstances.

Piper v. Chris-Craft Industries, Inc. Bowman Construction Co. The fragments of legislative history cited by respondents, regardless of how liberally they are construed, do not amount to a clearly expressed legislative intent contrary to the plain language of the statute.

Consumer Product Safety Comm'n v. Hardison, U. In Teamsters v. Similarly, by holding that. United Air Lines, Inc. Evans, U. Thus taken together, Teamsters and Evans stand for the proposition stated in Teamsters that. Teamsters, U. Consistent with our prior decisions, we decline respondents' invitation to read such a distinction into the statute. Seniority provisions are of "overriding importance" in collective bargaining, Humphrey v.

Moore, U. Hardison, supra, at U. The collective bargaining process "lies at the core of our national labor policy. See, e. Congress was well aware in that the overall purpose aPtterson Title VII, to eliminate discrimination in employment, inevitably would, on occasion, conflict with the policy favoring minimal. California Brewers Assn. Bryant, U. Section h represents the balance Congress struck between the two policies, and it is not this Court's function to upset that balance.

This issue is not before the Court. Prior toTitle VII Co,pany required charges to be filed within 90 days of an alleged discriminatory practice. Section e78 Stat.


United States Supreme Court. AMERICAN TOBACCO CO. v. PATTERSON(1982) No. 80-1199 Argued: January 19, 1982 Decided: April 5, 1982. Section 703(h) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides that "it shall not be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to apply different standards of compensation, or different terms, conditions, or privileges of employment pursuant to a bona fide ……

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