515 F.2d 301 (6th Cir. 1975), 74-1007, E.E.O.C. v. Detroit Edison Co.

Docket Nº:74-1007 to 74-1009 and 74-1675.
Citation:515 F.2d 301
Party Name:EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. The DETROIT EDISON COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. LOCAL 17, INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, Defendant-Appellant. Willie STAMPS et al., Plaintiffs-Cross-Appellants, v. The DETROIT EDISON CO
Case Date:March 11, 1975
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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515 F.2d 301 (6th Cir. 1975)



The DETROIT EDISON COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.





Willie STAMPS et al., Plaintiffs-Cross-Appellants,


The DETROIT EDISON COMPANY et al., Defendants-Cross-Appellees.




Nos. 74-1007 to 74-1009 and 74-1675.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

March 11, 1975

As Amended May 16, 1975 by Panel after Denial of Rehearing en Banc.

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William P. Rogers, Rogers & Wells, New York City (argued), for defendant-appellant-cross-appellee Detroit Edison Co.; Richard Ford, Leo I. Franklin, James E. Brenner, Fischer, Franklin & Ford, Detroit, Mich., Leon S. Cohan, James F. Ward, Detroit, Mich., of counsel.

William B. Gould, Professor of Law, Stanford, Cal. (argued), for plaintiff-appellee-cross-appellant Willie Stamps and others; Roger E. Craig, Gene Farber, Detroit, Mich., Melvin L. Wulf, A. C. L. U., New York City, Professor John de J. Pemberton, Jr., University of San Francisco Law School, San Francisco, Cal., of counsel.

Beatrice Rosenberg (argued), William A. Carey, Joseph T. Eddins, Jr., Washington,

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  1. C., for plaintiff-appellee EEOC.

    Rolland R. O'Hare (argued), Marston, Sachs, O'Connell, Nunn & Freid, Detroit, Mich., for defendant-appellant-cross-appellee Local 17.

    William M. Mazey (argued), Rothe, Mazey & Mazey, Detroit, Mich., for defendants-cross-appellees Local 223.

    Before PECK, MILLER and LIVELY, Circuit Judges.

    LIVELY, Circuit Judge.

    Two actions seeking relief from alleged racial discrimination in the employment practices of The Detroit Edison Company (hereafter Edison) were consolidated for trial in the district court. In one action, the United States was the plaintiff 1 and in the other the plaintiffs were three black employees of Edison. In addition to Edison, Local 17, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (hereafter Local 17) and Local 223, Utility Workers Union of America (hereafter Local 223) were named defendants in both actions. The Association for the Betterment of Black Edison Employees (hereafter the Association) was also named a plaintiff in the action brought by the private plaintiffs, but was dismissed for lack of standing by an order of the district court. The private plaintiffs filed suit as a class action, and in their complaint described the class as follows: "The members of the class are all Black citizens whom Defendant Detroit Edison has refused or discharged from employment, discriminated against with respect to compensation, terms conditions and/or terms or (sic) employment; and/or otherwise segregated, classified, or who were otherwise deprived of employment opportunities, because of their race or color." The complaint stated that the private plaintiffs sued "individually and, on behalf of all other persons similarly situated."

    Under the heading "Factual Allegations" the complaint listed a number of policies, practices, customs and usages of Edison which were alleged to discriminate against the plaintiffs and members of the class with respect to employment, compensation, terms and conditions of employment. Included in this listing were the use of departmental or group seniority, the use of arbitrarily long and non-job-related apprentice programs, the use of tests which are unrelated to employment and disproportionately exclude blacks from employment opportunities, the use of employment interview practices which exclude blacks from employment for non-job-related reasons or result in inferior compensation and assignment of blacks to low-opportunity jobs, and the claim that the defendants "have established a reputation in the Black community for discriminating against individuals in employment because of race or color." The involvement of the two locals in the discriminatory practices was alleged to have consisted of negotiating agreements which provided for departmental or group seniority rather than company-wide seniority to the detriment of black employees and the failure to object to other discriminatory practices of Edison as previously outlined. It was alleged that the locals have "both breached their duty of fair representation and discriminated against Black persons because of race and color." There then followed a recitation of alleged discriminatory acts which had been practiced upon the three named private plaintiffs.

    The complaint concluded with a statement of the legal violations involved in the discriminatory acts and practices alleged. It was claimed that all defendants had violated the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a et seq., the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 151 and 185. The relief sought was a permanent injunction against the continued use of "discriminatory hiring and promotional practices which exclude

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    Black workers and the use of departmental or job group seniority systems"; a declaration that the practices and procedures outlined in the complaint were unlawful; an award of back pay to all members of the class injured by unlawful practices; "and any other additional and alternative relief as may appear to the Court to be equitable and meet." In an amended complaint filed nearly a year and a half after the original complaint, the private plaintiffs alleged that there had been retaliation and intimidation against them since the filing of the original complaint and prayed for punitive damages of $10,000,000.

    The complaint of the United States sought a preliminary and permanent injunction against alleged discriminatory practices upon the allegation that Edison "engaged in acts and practices that limit, segregate, classify and otherwise discriminate against its black employees and black applicants for employment in ways that deprive or tend to deprive them of employment opportunities and adversely affect their status as employees because of their race . . .." The specific practices of Edison referred to in the government complaint were assignment of blacks to low-progression jobs, promotion by departmental and job seniority, the use of non-validated standardized tests for promotion, discrimination in hiring and recruitment practices, use of non-validated standardized tests for employment entry and the company's refusal to correct its practices. The complaint also alleged that the provisions of the collective bargaining agreements with the two locals concerning promotion, demotion and transfer are discriminatory and that the acts and practices of Edison and the locals constitute "a pattern and practice" which denies black persons the full enjoyment of their right to equal employment opportunities in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. All of the allegations of the complaints were put in issue by denials of the defendants. The motions of the defendants for jury trials in both cases were stricken and the amended complaint of the private plaintiffs seeking punitive damages against Edison was "conditionally" allowed.

    Prior to trial, a stipulation was filed which showed that on April 24, 1972, Edison had 10,630 employees of whom 832 were black. In supervisory positions there were 12 blacks and 1,099 whites; in professional and technical jobs there were 73 blacks and 1,785 whites. This stipulation further showed the distribution by departments in the various seniority groupings listed in the bargaining agreements of Local 17 and Local 223. Numerous exhibits were filed by the parties, particularly the government and Edison. More than 50 witnesses testified in the trial before the court which consumed 28 trial days over a period of approximately two months.

    The court included a "summary" of its findings and conclusions in its opinion and order in addition to specific findings of fact and conclusions of law. The summary included the following statements:

    The evidence was overwhelming that invidious racial discrimination in employment practices permeates the corporate entity of The Detroit Edison Company. The Court finds as proven facts that upward mobility of blacks presently employed at Detroit Edison is almost non-existent, and that qualified potential black employees are refused employment or refrain from applying for employment because of the Company's reputation in the Black Detroit Community for racial discrimination. The Company has taken the position that if any inequities exist between blacks and whites at Detroit Edison, such inequities have accidentally evolved and have not resulted from deliberate discrimination. While this Court believes that the law would require it to find that Detroit Edison has violated the law if it has, without intent to discriminate, fostered practices which have resulted in a racially discriminatory impact, the evidence in this case demonstrates that the Company's discrimination has been deliberate

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    and by design. (Footnote omitted.)

    It is the conclusion of the Court, in light of the evidence adduced, that the Company is refusing to acknowledge the obvious and has therefore adopted an intractable position.

    The long and short of the evidence with respect to the Defendant Unions is simply that the Unions have promoted the interests of its white members without regard to the interests of its black members, and have ignored the plight of the black members in...

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