493 F.2d 191 (5th Cir. 1974), 73-1856, Bolton v. Murray Envelope Corp.

Docket Nº:73-1856.
Citation:493 F.2d 191
Party Name:Mrs. Natalie BOLTON, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. MURRAY ENVELOPE CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:April 26, 1974
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 191

493 F.2d 191 (5th Cir. 1974)

Mrs. Natalie BOLTON, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

MURRAY ENVELOPE CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 73-1856.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

April 26, 1974

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied May 30, 1974.

Page 192

Melvyn R. Leventhal, Fred L. Banks, Jr., Jackson, Miss., for plaintiff-appellant.

Herbert R. Ginsberg, M. M. Roberts, Hattiesburg, Miss., for defendant-appellee.

Before COLEMAN, CLARK and GEE, Circuit Judges.

COLEMAN, Circuit Judge:

This appeal is from a judgment for defendant, Murray Envelope Corporation (Murray), in a suit alleging racial discrimination in employment practices, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C., § 2000e.

Page 193

Plaintiff, Natalie Bolton, a member of the Negro race, brought the charge against Murray, alleging that her employment was terminated as the result of racial discrimination. She also sued in the name of a class composed of all Negro employees, both those terminated and those allegedly improperly detained in menial jobs as a result of the racially discriminatory policies and procedures of the defendant corporation. Murray contends that it has been free of discrimination since 1962 and that Bolton was discharged because of substandard production.

The trial court, sitting without a jury, determined that the individual employee, Mrs. Bolton, and the class she represented had not, in fact, been the victims of racial discrimination. If did order Murray to post notice of its compliance with federal requirements as to integrated facilities.

Murray Envelope Company was established in 1943 with approximately 50 employees and has since grown to its present size of approximately 250-300 employees. Its plant is located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and draws its employees from that area. Hattiesburg has a population of approximately 40,000 of whom 29% are black; Forrest County, in which Hattiesburg is located, has a population of approximately 58,000, of whom 25% are black.

Murray produces a wide variety of stationery and envelopes in varying sizes. This process requires many machine operators, pressmen, and printing employees, in addition to the normal number of clerical and day laborer positions which accompany any production procedure. Murray admits racially discriminatory practices prior to 1962. However, it contends that in 1962 these were discontinued.

There are no positions at Murray which necessitate prerequisite special training or education. All employees begin as trainees. Murray has employed some people with less than a tenth grade education, but employees of at least that educational level are preferred. The semi-skilled and skilled positions in the company are filled by on-the-job training of the originally unskilled employees. The policy for promotions, according to Murray, is to promote from 'within' if at all possible. The testimony reflected, however, that there are no objective, published standards or guidelines for such promotions. Instead, the subjective determination of the supervisory staff is relied upon for both initial job assignments and for subsequent promotions.

Prospective employees at Murray are obtained primarily through the Mississippi Employment Service, 'word of mouth' recruitment, and independent, unsolicited inquiries and applications made directly to the company. The testimony reflected that newspaper advertisements had been used in an attempt to obtain skilled machine operators, had been of little success, and were therefore infrequently used.

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