45 280 Albemarle Paper Company v. Moody Halifax Local No 425, United Papermakers and Paperworkers v. Moody 8212 389, 74 8212 428, AFL-CI

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtSTEWART
Citation422 U.S. 405,45 L. Ed. 2d 280,95 S.Ct. 2362
Decision Date25 June 1975
Docket NumberAFL-CI,Nos. 74,P
Parties. 45 L.Ed.2d 280 ALBEMARLE PAPER COMPANY et al., Petitioners, v. Joseph P. MOODY et al. HALIFAX LOCAL NO. 425, UNITED PAPERMAKERS AND PAPERWORKERS,etitioner, v. Joseph P. MOODY et al. —389, 74—428

422 U.S. 405
95 S.Ct. 2362.
45 L.Ed.2d 280
ALBEMARLE PAPER COMPANY et al., Petitioners,

v.

Joseph P. MOODY et al. HALIFAX LOCAL NO. 425, UNITED PAPERMAKERS AND PAPERWORKERS, AFL-CIO, Petitioner, v. Joseph P. MOODY et al.

Nos. 74—389, 74—428.
Argued April 14, 1975.
Decided June 25, 1975.

Syllabus

Respondents, a certified class of present and former Negro employees, brought this action against petitioners, their employer, Albemarle Paper Co., and the employees' union, seeking injunctive relief against 'any policy, practice, custom or usage' at the plant violative of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, and after several years of discovery moved to add a class backpay demand. At the trial, the major issues were the plant's seniority system, its program of employment testing, and backpay. The District Court found that, following a reorganization under a new collective-bargaining agreement, the Negro employees had been "locked' in the lower paying job classifications,' and ordered petitioners to implement a system of plant wide seniority. The court refused, however, to order backpay for losses sustained by the plaintiff class under the discriminatory system, on the grounds that (1) Albemarle's breach of Title VII was found not to have been in 'bad faith,' and (2) respondents, who had initially disclaimed interest in backpay, had delayed making their backpay claim until five years after the complaint was filed, thereby prejudicing petitioners. The court also refused to enjoin or limit Albemarle's testing program, which respondents had contended had a disproportionate adverse impact on blacks and was not shown to be related to job performance, the court concluding that 'personnel tests administered at the plant have undergone validation studies and have been proven to be job related.' Respondents appealed on the backpay and preemployment tests issues. The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court's judgment. Held:

1. Given a finding of unlawful discrimination, backpay should be denied only for reasons that, if applied generally, would not frustrate the central statutory purposes manifested by Congress in enacting Title VII of eradicating discrimination throughout the

Page 406

economy and making persons whole for injuries suffered through past discrimination. Pp. 413-422.

2. The absence of bad faith is not a sufficient reason for denying backpay, Title VII not being concerned with the employer's 'good intent or absence of discriminatory intent,' for 'Congress directed the thrust of the Act to the consequences of employment practices, not simply the motivation,' Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 432, 91 S.Ct. 849, 854, 28 L.Ed.2d 158. Pp. 422-423.

3. Whether respondents' tardiness and inconsistency in making their backpay demand were excusable and whether they actually prejudiced petitioners are matters that will be open to review by the Court of Appeals if the District Court, on remand, decides again to decline a backpay award. Pp. 423-425.

4. As is clear from Griggs, supra, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Guidelines for employers seeking to determine through professional validation studies whether employment tests are job related, such tests are impermissible unless shown, by professionally acceptable methods, to be 'predictive of or significantly correlated with important elements of work behavior which comprise or are relevant to the job or jobs for which candidates are being evaluated.' Measured against that standard, Albemarle's validation study is materially defective in that (1) it would not, because of the odd patchwork of results from its application have 'validated' the two general ability tests used by Albemarle for all the skilled lines of progression for which the two tests are, apparently, now required; (2) it compared test scores with subjective supervisorial rankings, affording no means of knowing what job-performance criteria the supervisors were considering; (3) it focused mostly on job groups near the top of various lines of progression, but the fact that the best of those employees working near the top of a line of progression score well on a test does not necessarily mean that the test permissibly measures the qualifications of new workers entering lower level jobs; and (4) it dealt only with job-experienced, white workers, but the tests themselves are given to new job applicants, who are younger, largely inexperienced, and in many instances nonwhite. Pp. 425-435.

5. In view of the facts that during the appellate stages of this litigation Albemarle has apparently been amending its departmental organization and the use made of its tests; that issues of standards of proof for job relatedness and of evidentiary procedures involving validation tests have not until now been clarified;

Page 407

and that provisional use of tests pending new validation efforts may be authorized, the District Court on remand should initially fashion the necessary relief. Pp. 436.

474 F.2d 134, vacated and remanded.

Francis V. Lowden, Jr., Richmond, Va., for Albemarle Paper Co.

Warren Woods, Washington, D.C., for Halifax Local No. 425.

J. LeVonne Chambers, charlotte, N.C., for Joseph Moody and others.

James P. Turner, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Div., Washington, D.C., for the United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court.

Page 408

Mr. Justice STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.

These consolidated cases raise two important questions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253, as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, 86 Stat. 103, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (1970 ed. and Supp. III): First: When employees or applicants for employment have lost the opportunity to earn wages because an employer has engaged in an unlawful discriminatory employment practice, what standards should a federal district court follow in deciding whether to award or deny backpay? Second: What must an employer show to establish that pre-employment tests racially discriminatory in effect, though not in intent, are sufficiently 'job related' to survive challenge under Title VII?

I

The respondents—plaintiffs in the District Court—are a certified class of present and former Negro employees at a paper mill in Roanoke Rapids, N.C.; the petitioners—defendants in the District Court—are the plant's owner, the Albemarle Paper Co., and the plant employees' labor union, Halifax Local No. 425.1 In August 1966, after filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and receiving notice of their right to sue,2 the

Page 409

respondents brought a class action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, asking permanent injunctive relief against 'any policy, practice, custom or usage' at the plant that violated Title VII. The respondents assured the court that the suit involved no claim for any monetary awards on a class basis, but in June 1970, after several years of discovery, the respondents moved to add a class demand for backpay. The court ruled that this issue would be considered at trial.

At the trial, in July and August 1971, the major issues were the plant's seniority system, its program of employment testing, and the question of backpay. In its opinion of November 9, 1971, the court found that the petitioners had 'strictly segregated' the plant's departmental 'lines of progression' prior to January 1, 1964, reserving the higher paying and more skilled lines for whites. The 'racial identifiability' of whole lines of progression persisted until 1968, when the lines were reorganized under a new collective-bargaining agreement. The court found, however, that this reorganization left Negro employees "locked' in the lower paying job classifications.' The formerly 'Negro' lines of progression had been merely tacked on to the bottom of the formerly 'white' lines, and promotions, demotions, and layoffs continued to be governed—where skills were 'relatively equal'—by a system of 'job seniority.' Because of the plant's previous history of overt segregation, only whites had seniority in the higher job categories. Accordingly, the court ordered the petitioners to implement a system of 'plantwide' seniority.

Page 410

The court refused, however, to award backpay to the plaintiff class for losses suffered under the 'job seniority' program.3 The court explained:

'In the instant case there was no evidence of bad faith non-compliance with the Act. It appears that the company as early as 1964 began active recruitment of blacks for its Maintenance Apprentice Program. Certain lines of progression were merged on its own initiative, and as judicial decisions expanded the then existing interpretations of the Act, the defendants took steps to correct the abuses without delay. . . .

'In addition, an award of back pay is an equitable remedy. . . . The plaintiffs' claim for back pay was filed nearly five years after the institution of this action. It was not prayed for in the pleadings. Although neither party can be charged with deliberate dilatory tactics in bringing this cause to trial, it is apparent that the defendants would be substantially prejudiced by the granting of such affirmative relief. The defendants might have chosen to exercise unusual zeal in having this court determine their rights at an earlier date had they known that back pay would be at issue.'

The court also refused to enjoin or limit Albemarle's testing program. Albemarle had required applicants for employment in the skilled lines of progression to have a high school diploma and to pass two tests, the Revised Beta Examination, allegedly a measure of nonverbal in-

Page 411

telligence, and the Wonderlic Personnel Test (available in alternative Forms A and B), allegedly a measure of verbal facility. After this Court's decision in...

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2553 practice notes
  • Knutson v. Ag Processing, Inc., No. C01-3015-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • July 28, 2003
    ...L.Ed.2d 852 (1995) (discussing various federal anti-discrimination laws and the means of relief available); Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 419, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975) (stating that "[t]he `make whole' purpose of Title VII is made evident by the legislative history......
  • Poindexter v. F.B.I., No. 83-1151
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 26, 1984
    ...a court's 'inclination, but to its judgment; and its judgment is to be guided by sound legal principles.' " Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 416, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 2371, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975) (quoting United States v. Burr, 25 F.Cas. 30, 35 (C.C.D.Va.1807) (No. 14,692) (Marshall, C.......
  • Hull v. Cason
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 7, 1981
    ...57 L.Ed.2d 750.) It constitutes " 'an unfortunate and ignominious page in this country's history.' " (Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody (1975) 422 U.S. 405, 418, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 2372, 45 L.Ed.2d The Fire Department of the City of Oakland (City) has not gone untouched by such practices. Like many ......
  • Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 27, 2010
    ...remedies are "not left to a trial court's `inclination,'" they are left to the court's "`judgment.'" Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 416, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975) (quoting United States v. Burr, 25 F. Cas. 30, 35 (No. 14,692d) (CC Va. 1807) (Marshall, C.J.)). The pri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2540 cases
  • Knutson v. Ag Processing, Inc., No. C01-3015-MWB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • July 28, 2003
    ...L.Ed.2d 852 (1995) (discussing various federal anti-discrimination laws and the means of relief available); Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 419, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975) (stating that "[t]he `make whole' purpose of Title VII is made evident by the legislative history......
  • Poindexter v. F.B.I., No. 83-1151
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 26, 1984
    ...a court's 'inclination, but to its judgment; and its judgment is to be guided by sound legal principles.' " Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 416, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 2371, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975) (quoting United States v. Burr, 25 F.Cas. 30, 35 (C.C.D.Va.1807) (No. 14,692) (Marshall, C.......
  • Hull v. Cason
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • January 7, 1981
    ...57 L.Ed.2d 750.) It constitutes " 'an unfortunate and ignominious page in this country's history.' " (Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody (1975) 422 U.S. 405, 418, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 2372, 45 L.Ed.2d The Fire Department of the City of Oakland (City) has not gone untouched by such practices. Like many ......
  • Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • April 27, 2010
    ...remedies are "not left to a trial court's `inclination,'" they are left to the court's "`judgment.'" Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 416, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975) (quoting United States v. Burr, 25 F. Cas. 30, 35 (No. 14,692d) (CC Va. 1807) (Marshall, C.J.)). The pri......
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8 books & journal articles
  • If Research Agenda Were Honest.
    • United States
    • Yale Journal of Law & Technology Nbr. 24, January 2022
    • January 1, 2022
    ...and where we ought to be going, particularly with regard to avenues for ongoing legal research."). (37) Cf. Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 448 (1975) (Blackmun, J., concurring) ("The simple truth is that ... most attempts to predict the future, will never be completely accurate......
  • THE RAINBOW CONNECTION: REVISITING THE MIXED-MOTIVE SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD IN BOSTOCK'S AFTERGLOW.
    • United States
    • Fordham Urban Law Journal Vol. 49 Nbr. 4, May 2022
    • May 1, 2022
    ...and the Goals of Employment Discrimination Law, 56 WASH. & LEE L. REV. 395, 427 (1999) (citing Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 417-18 (1975) (stating that federal court relief under Title VII not only compensates victims but also vindicates broader public interest in deterri......
  • The U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies Constructive Discharge under Title VII
    • United States
    • Public Personnel Management Nbr. 36-1, March 2007
    • March 1, 2007
    ...Id., at para. 5, “Constructive Discharge.”18 See 29 CFR § 1604.11(f) (1997).19 See supra, Note 16.20 Ibid.21 Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 418 (1975).22 Id., at 417.23 See supra, Note 3.24 See supra, Note 4.25 524 U.S. 749.26 Ibid.27 Ibid.28 Ibid.29 Id., at 749-750.30 Id., at ......
  • What Public-Sector Employers Need to Know About Promotional Practices, Procedures, and Tests in Public Safety Promotional Processes
    • United States
    • Public Personnel Management Nbr. 42-2, June 2013
    • June 1, 2013
    ...in human resource selection: Legal, technical, and soci- etal issues. New York, NY: Praeger Publishers. Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 425 (1975).Alphran, D. M. (2003). Proving discrimination after Croson and Adarand: “If it walks like a duck.” U.S.F. Law Review, 37, 887, Ameri......
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