Snygg v. City of Scottsbluff Police Dept.

Decision Date17 May 1978
Docket NumberNo. 41524,41524
Citation201 Neb. 16,266 N.W.2d 76
Parties, 39 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 39, 17 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 8594 Ms. Annie SNYGG, Appellant, v. CITY OF SCOTTSBLUFF POLICE DEPARTMENT, Appellee.
CourtNebraska Supreme Court

Syllabus by the Court

1. The District Court is required to review the entire record, weigh the evidence, and determine what is the preponderance of the evidence.

2. Upon appeal to the District Court from an order of the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission the review is by trial de novo upon the record.

3. The Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission in deciding complaints of discrimination does not exercise legislative power.

4. Upon appeal to this court from a judgment of the District Court in an appeal from the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission the judgment of the District Court will be affirmed if it is supported by substantial evidence.

J. L. Zimmerman of Atkins, Ferguson, Hahn, Zimmerman & Hansen, Scottsbluff, for appellant.

Loren G. Olsson, Scottsbluff, Paul L. Douglas, Atty. Gen. and Judy K. Hoffman, Asst. Atty. Gen., Lincoln, brief of amicus curiae Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.

Heard before WHITE, C. J., and SPENCER, BOSLAUGH, McCOWN, CLINTON, BRODKEY, and WHITE, JJ.

BOSLAUGH, Justice.

This is an appeal in a proceeding in which Ms. Annie Snygg, the complainant, filed a complaint with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission in which she alleged she had been discriminated against by the respondent, City of Scottsbluff, in that she was denied employment as a police patrolman because of her sex. The complaint alleged discrimination in employment policies and practices in violation of section 48-1104, R.R.S.1943.

Pursuant to an order of the commission an evidentiary hearing was held by an examiner who found that the complainant had been discriminated against because of her sex and recommended that she be awarded back pay in the amount of $4,368. The commission adopted the findings and recommendation of the examiner and ordered the respondent to pay $4,368 to the complainant together with attorney's fees in the amount of $1,088.81.

The respondent appealed to the District Court which found that the findings and order of the commission were arbitrary and not supported by a preponderance of the evidence. The order of the commission was reversed and the complaint dismissed. The complainant has appealed to this court.

The assignments of error all relate to the finding of the District Court that the findings and order of the commission were arbitrary and not supported by a preponderance of the evidence. An appeal to the District Court from an order of the commission is governed by section 48-1120, R.R.S.1943. This section provides that the determination by the District Court shall extend to all questions of law and fact presented by the entire record, and an order of the commission shall not be vacated, modified, or set aside unless the findings of the commission in support of the order are unreasonable or arbitrary or "are not supported by a preponderance of the evidence." The District Court is required to review the entire record, weigh the evidence, and determine what is the preponderance of the evidence. Duffy v. Physicians Mut. Ins. Co., 191 Neb. 233, 214 N.W.2d 471. The review in the District Court amounts to a trial de novo upon the record.

The Attorney General as amicus curiae suggests that such a provision is unconstitutional under Scott v. State ex rel. Board of Nursing, 196 Neb. 681, 244 N.W.2d 683, and similar cases. The Scott case is not applicable here because the Equal Opportunity Commission exercises quasi-judicial power as distinguished from legislative power. The Equal Opportunity Commission performs no licensing function but merely determines rights of the parties under the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act. In this situation a provision for a de novo review is valid.

The question presented by this appeal is whether the District Court in making an independent evaluation of the evidence could find that the complainant had not proved that she had been discriminated against because of her sex. Stated another way, the judgment must be affirmed unless the evidence was such that it compelled a finding that the complainant had been discriminated against because of her sex.

The record shows the respondent followed the following procedure when a vacancy occurred in the police department. The city manager, who was the appointing authority, would request the civil service commission to certify an eligible list. An appointment to fill the vacancy would then be made from the list certified to the city manager by the civil service commission.

The names which were certified to the city manager on each occasion were taken from another "eligible list" which was compiled by the civil service commission after a competitive examination had been given to applicants. The names on this eligible list consisted of applicants who had passed...

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9 cases
  • Blakely v. Lancaster Cnty.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • November 16, 2012
    ...528 (1990). 26. Brief for appellees at 12. 27. See, Neb.Rev.Stat. § 19–1826(3) (Reissue 2012); Snygg v. City of Scottsbluff Police Dept., 201 Neb. 16, 266 N.W.2d 76 (1978). See, also, Black's Law Dictionary 116 (9th ed.2009). 28. See § 23–2519. 29. See, Neb.Rev.Stat. § 23–2501 (Reissue 2012......
  • Father Flanagan's Boys' Home v. Agnew, S-97-1176
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • March 12, 1999
    ...will be affirmed "unless the evidence was such that it compelled a finding" of sex discrimination. Snygg v. City of Scottsbluff Police Dept., 201 Neb. 16, 18, 266 N.W.2d 76, 78 (1978). When reviewing a question of law, however, an appellate court reaches a conclusion independent of the lowe......
  • Lux v. Mental Health Bd. of Polk County
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • January 17, 1979
    ...been violated is clearly a judicial function and a legislative mandate requiring de novo review is proper. Snygg v. City of Scottsbluff Police Dept., 201 Neb. 16, 266 N.W.2d 76. One method of determining whether a function is legislative or judicial is to examine its origins. Lunacy proceed......
  • Ranger Div., Ryder Truck Lines, Inc. v. Bayne, 82-038
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • May 6, 1983
    ...by substantial evidence. Farmer v. Richman Gordman Stores, Inc., 203 Neb. 222, 278 N.W.2d 332 (1979); Snygg v. City of Scottsbluff Police Dept., 201 Neb. 16, 266 N.W.2d 76 (1978); Duffy v. Physicians Mut. Ins. Co., 191 Neb. 233, 214 N.W.2d 471 (1974). However, this court has the obligation ......
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