Schattman v. Texas Employment Commission, Civ. A. No. A-70-CA-75.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
Writing for the CourtROBERTS
Citation330 F. Supp. 328
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. A-70-CA-75.
Decision Date25 February 1971
PartiesMary Ellen SCHATTMAN v. TEXAS EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION et al.

330 F. Supp. 328

Mary Ellen SCHATTMAN
v.
TEXAS EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION et al.

Civ. A. No. A-70-CA-75.

United States District Court, W. D. Texas, Austin Division.

February 25, 1971.


David Richards, Austin, Tex., for plaintiff.

330 F. Supp. 329

Crawford C. Martin, Atty. Gen. of Texas by Asst. Atty. Gen. Jack Sparks, Austin, Tex., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ROBERTS, District Judge.

Plaintiff was employed by the Texas Employment Commission, Austin District Office, as a Labor Market Analyst, Class 1, until May 29, 1970, at which time she was involuntarily terminated because she was pregnant. This termination was pursuant to a maternity leave policy maintained and enforced by the Defendants. Defendants stipulate that Plaintiff was a qualified employee, and the evidence indicates that she was a permanent desk worker whose job entailed no significant physical exertion or personal contact with the public. Hence, there is no basic dispute as to the facts or the exhaustion of administrative remedies. The issue before the Court is whether a policy requiring pregnant females to terminate their employment no later than two (2) months before the expected delivery date violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.

By virtue of female physiology, the Defendants' policy applies solely to women. Women are terminated not because of their unwillingness to continue work, their poor performance, or their need for personal medical safety, but because of a condition attendant to their sex. This is the very type of discriminatory regulation condemned by the interpretive regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 29 C.F. R. § 1604.1(a) provides in part that

The principle of non-discrimination requires that individuals be considered on the basis of individual capacities and not on the basis of any characteristics generally attributed to the group.

In view of this provision, Richards v. Griffith Rubber Mills, 300 F.Supp. 338, 340 (D.Or.1969), concluded that "the law no longer permits either employers or the states to deal with women as a class in relation to employment to their disadvantage."

Although Defendants' policy is thus violative of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a), it can be sustained by showing under 2000e-2(e) that it "is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise." To prevail under this exception, according to Weeks v. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph, 408 F.2d 228, 235 (5th Cir. 1969),

* * * an employer has the burden of proving that he had reasonable cause to believe, that is, a factual basis for believing, that all or substantially all women would be unable to perform safely and efficiently the duties of the job involved.

Defendants clearly did not sustain their burden under this exception. They based their policy on mere historical reasons, which have not been reexamined for fourteen years. This Court is convinced that there was not such an impairment of efficiency, if any, as to justify TEC's outmoded policy. Indeed, defendants took almost as much time to replace Mrs. Schattman as would have been required by her doctor for the childbirth and recovery.

For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's request for relief declaring the defendants' maternity leave policy invalid is accordingly GRANTED, and defendants are permanently ENJOINED from maintaining this policy. This is not to say that TEC or any other employer cannot have such a policy based on individual medical or job characteristics, but it does mean that broad policies not so justified are contrary to law.

There remains the more difficult question of damages, which the Court resolves by applying the general law of Texas as to wrongful termination of an employment contract. After discharge, plaintiff satisfied her duty to mitigate damages by seeking temporary employment. Since her lack of typing ability

330 F. Supp. 330
prevented such employment, she received no wages and is therefore entitled to the salary and accumulated sick and vacation leave that she would have received during the latter part of June, all of July, and the first part of August had not defendants enforced their discriminatory policy, less any amounts previously paid plaintiff for this period. Damages hereby awarded to plaintiff total $1103.72

Defendants have strongly urged the Court to deny plaintiff damages on the basis of various cases upholding the doctrines of sovereign and official immunity. Clearly plaintiff cannot hold the individual defendants personally liable, and she may experience difficulties in recovering damages from the State. Nevertheless, plaintiff has been injured by defendants' illegal policy and damages will be awarded.

This memorandum opinion constitutes the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Rule 52(a), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

It is accordingly ordered, adjudged, decreed and declared as follows:

(1) Defendants' present...

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  • Pettway v. American Cast Iron Pipe Company, No. 73-1163.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 22, 1974
    ...pay, and bonus); United States v. Georgia Power, supra, 474 F.2d at 922 (travel expenses); Schattman v. Texas Employment Commission, 330 F.Supp. 328 (W.D.Tex.1971), rev'd on other grounds, 459 F.2d 32 (5th Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1107, 93 S.Ct. 901, 34 L.Ed.2d 688 (1973) (sick an......
  • Schattman v. Texas Employment Commission, No. 71-1872.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 5, 1972
    ...policy violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The District Court so held, 330 F.Supp. 328 (W.D., Texas, 1971). We I Since 1956 the Employment Commission has maintained the following policy with reference to female employees from an......
  • Williams v. San Francisco Unified School District, Civ. No. 72-305.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • March 21, 1972
    ...in advanced pregnancy. Defendants have cited only Schattman v. Texas Employment Commission, 459 F. 2d 32, (5th Cir. 1972) reversing 330 F.Supp. 328 (W.D.Tex.1971), as legal authority in support of the District's maternity leave This court is now called upon to measure the classification cre......
  • Crawford v. Roadway Exp., Inc., Civ. A. No. 78-1311.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Louisiana
    • February 26, 1980
    ...including vacation pay, holiday pay and sick pay. Pettway, supra at 263; Schattman v. Texas Employment 485 F. Supp. 924 Commission, 330 F.Supp. 328 (W.D. Tex.1971), rev'd on other grounds, 459 F.2d 32 (5th Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1107, 93 S.Ct. 901, 34 L.Ed.2d 688 In determining ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Pettway v. American Cast Iron Pipe Company, No. 73-1163.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 22, 1974
    ...pay, and bonus); United States v. Georgia Power, supra, 474 F.2d at 922 (travel expenses); Schattman v. Texas Employment Commission, 330 F.Supp. 328 (W.D.Tex.1971), rev'd on other grounds, 459 F.2d 32 (5th Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1107, 93 S.Ct. 901, 34 L.Ed.2d 688 (1973) (sick an......
  • Schattman v. Texas Employment Commission, No. 71-1872.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 5, 1972
    ...policy violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The District Court so held, 330 F.Supp. 328 (W.D., Texas, 1971). We I Since 1956 the Employment Commission has maintained the following policy with reference to female employees from an......
  • Williams v. San Francisco Unified School District, Civ. No. 72-305.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • March 21, 1972
    ...in advanced pregnancy. Defendants have cited only Schattman v. Texas Employment Commission, 459 F. 2d 32, (5th Cir. 1972) reversing 330 F.Supp. 328 (W.D.Tex.1971), as legal authority in support of the District's maternity leave This court is now called upon to measure the classification cre......
  • Crawford v. Roadway Exp., Inc., Civ. A. No. 78-1311.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Louisiana
    • February 26, 1980
    ...including vacation pay, holiday pay and sick pay. Pettway, supra at 263; Schattman v. Texas Employment 485 F. Supp. 924 Commission, 330 F.Supp. 328 (W.D. Tex.1971), rev'd on other grounds, 459 F.2d 32 (5th Cir. 1972), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1107, 93 S.Ct. 901, 34 L.Ed.2d 688 In determining ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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