Case: International Union v. Johnson Controls, Inc.

2:84-cv-00472 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Filed Date: April 6, 1984

Closed Date: Jan. 19, 1994

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In April of 1984 plaintiffs filed suit against Johnson Controls Inc., their employer, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin alleging sex and pregnancy discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as modified by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The suit concerned a 1982 policy the defendant had adopted that forbade all women, unless it was medically documented that the employee was infertile, from performing jobs that could possib…

In April of 1984 plaintiffs filed suit against Johnson Controls Inc., their employer, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin alleging sex and pregnancy discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as modified by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The suit concerned a 1982 policy the defendant had adopted that forbade all women, unless it was medically documented that the employee was infertile, from performing jobs that could possibly expose them to lead and cause birth defects. The plaintiffs alleged that this disparate treatment of female employees resulted in discrimination regarding hiring, pay, work conditions, seniority, layoffs, training, benefits, recruiting, demotions and advancement. It was additionally alleged that the policy discriminated against male employees who sought to be transferred or given a leave of absence when attempting to conceive but were not allowed to do so. Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and damages.

On February 25, 1985 the district court (Judge Robert W. Warren) certified a class containing all past, present, and future members of the plaintiff unions who had worked, did work, or would work in the battery manufacturing division from 1982. On January 21, 1988 the court (Judge Warren) granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment holding that the plaintiffs had not shown that there was a better alternative to the policy that would protect against the serious dangers exposures to lead can cause to fetuses and thus that the policy was a business necessity.

Plaintiffs appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and on September 26, 1989 the court (Judges Bauer, Cummings, Wood Jr., Cudahy, Posner, Coffey, Flaum, Easterbrook, Ripple, Manion, and Kanne) affirmed the district court seven to four. The Plaintiffs thereafter appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States and were granted a writ of certiorari. Oral arguments were heard on October 10, 1990 and on March 20, 1991 the Supreme Court (Justices Blackmun, Marshall, Stevens, O'Connor, Souter, White, Rehnquist, Kennedy, and Scalia) unanimously reversed. The Supreme Court ruled that the policy in question violated Title VII since it was facially discriminatory and gender was not a bona fide occupational qualification in this case. Decisions regarding the welfare of future generations were the province of parents and so long as the defendant did not act negligently it would not be liable in tort.

The case was remanded to the district court and on January 19, 1994 the parties entered into a consent decree and settlement forbidding the discrimination in question and awarding the plaintiff class monetary damages reported to be in the high six figures.

Summary Authors

Michael Perry (9/24/2010)

People


Judge(s)

Bauer, William Joseph (Illinois)

Blackmun, Harry Andrew (District of Columbia)

Coffey, John Louis (Wisconsin)

Cudahy, Richard Dickson (Illinois)

Cummings, Jeffrey Irvine (Illinois)

Easterbrook, Frank Hoover (Illinois)

Flaum, Joel Martin (Illinois)

Kanne, Michael Stephen (Indiana)

Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (District of Columbia)

Manion, Daniel Anthony (Indiana)

Judge(s)

Bauer, William Joseph (Illinois)

Blackmun, Harry Andrew (District of Columbia)

Coffey, John Louis (Wisconsin)

Cudahy, Richard Dickson (Illinois)

Cummings, Jeffrey Irvine (Illinois)

Easterbrook, Frank Hoover (Illinois)

Flaum, Joel Martin (Illinois)

Kanne, Michael Stephen (Indiana)

Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (District of Columbia)

Manion, Daniel Anthony (Indiana)

Marshall, Thurgood (District of Columbia)

O'Connor, Sandra Day (District of Columbia)

Posner, Richard Allen (Illinois)

Rehnquist, William Hubbs (District of Columbia)

Ripple, Kenneth Francis (Indiana)

Scalia, Antonin (District of Columbia)

Souter, David Hackett (District of Columbia)

Stevens, John Paul (District of Columbia)

Warren, Robert Willis (Wisconsin)

White, Byron Raymond (District of Columbia)

Wood, Harlington Jr. (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berzon, Marsha Siegel (California)

Clauss, Carin Ann (Wisconsin)

Gold, Laurence E. (District of Columbia)

Horwitz, Miriam R. (Wisconsin)

Jones, Ralph (Michigan)

Rossen, Jordan (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Curtis, Charles G. Jr. (Wisconsin)

Jaspan, Stanley (Wisconsin)

Maisa, Susan (Wisconsin)

Sorensen, Anita M. (Wisconsin)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

May 24, 1994 Docket

Decision and Order (Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment)

680 F.Supp. 309

Jan. 21, 1988 Order/Opinion

Opinion (Affirming the district court)

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

886 F.2d 871

Sept. 26, 1989 Order/Opinion

BRIEF FOR PETITIONERS

Supreme Court of the United States

June 1, 1990 Pleading / Motion / Brief

BRIEF FOR RESPONDENT

Supreme Court of the United States

July 19, 1990 Pleading / Motion / Brief

REPLY BRIEF FOR PETITIONERS

Supreme Court of the United States

Aug. 22, 1990 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Oral Argument

Supreme Court of the United States

1990 WL 601346

Oct. 10, 1990 Transcript

Opinion (U.S. Supreme Court, Reversing the Seventh Circuit and remanding for further proceedings)

Automobile Workers v. Johnson Controls, Inc.

Supreme Court of the United States

499 U.S. 187

March 20, 1991 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 13, 2022

ECF Number Description Date Link
72

HEARING MINUTES(RWW): Conference Call. Status Hearing set 03/25/92 at 9:45. (wied, ) Modified on 03/24/1992 (Entered: 02/11/1992)

Feb. 10, 1992
73

HEARING MINUTES: ; conf call held 3/25/92 ; conf call set 5/29/92 9:30 (wied, ) (Entered: 03/27/1992)

March 25, 1992
75

HEARING MINUTES(RWW): Second Conference Call set 08/12/92 at 9:15am; Conference Call hearing held 5/29/92 . (wied, ) (Entered: 06/04/1992)

May 29, 1992
76

HEARING MINUTES(RWW): Conference Call held. Status hearing set 11/02/92 at 9:30am . (wied, ) (Entered: 08/14/1992)

Aug. 12, 1992
77

LETTER(RWW): Results of Conference Call held 08/12/92. (wied, ) (Entered: 08/14/1992)

Aug. 12, 1992
78

HEARING MINUTES(RWW): Status hearing held; Final Status Conference Call set 01/06/93 at 9:00am . (wied, ) (Entered: 12/02/1992)

Nov. 30, 1992
79

HEARING MINUTES(RWW): Status hearing set 04/23/93 at 9:00am . (wied, ) (Entered: 02/16/1993)

Feb. 12, 1993
80

HEARING MINUTES(RWW): Status hearing held 4/23/93 . Parties to submit status report by 06/30/93. (wied, )

April 23, 1993
81

STIPULATION of Settlement and order of Provisional Entry of Consent Decree with PROPOSED CONSENT DECREE. (wied, ) (Entered: 10/06/1993)

Oct. 1, 1993
82

ORDER by Senior Judge Robert W. Warren: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Stipulation and Order of 10/01/93 be AMENDED; IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that in light of these changes, to allow the parties time to comply with the terms thereof, and without objection, the Stipulation and Order of 10/01/93 be further AMENDED; IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Consent Decree of 10/01/93 be VACATED, and the proposed Consent Decree be HELD IN ABEYANCE pending the Fairness Hearing. (cc: all counsel) (wied, ) (Entered: 10/19/1993)

Oct. 18, 1993
83

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE of Notice of Proposed Settlement of Class Action by defendant Johnson Controls Inc. (wied, ) (Entered: 10/27/1993)

Oct. 26, 1993
84

LETTER from plaintiff objecting to the proposed settlement (ers, ) (Entered: 12/21/1993)

Dec. 20, 1993
85

LETTER from Darlene Barkley, a class member in this case objecting to the settlement. (ers, ) (Entered: 12/28/1993)

Dec. 23, 1993
86

AFFIDAVIT/VERIFICATION of Stanley S. Jaspan in support of proposed Consent Decree. (vlh, ) (Entered: 01/19/1994)

Jan. 14, 1994
87

BRIEF by defendant Johnson Controls Inc in support of proposed Consent Decree. (vlh, ) (Entered: 01/19/1994)

Jan. 14, 1994
88

CERTIFICATE of service by defendant Johnson Controls Inc (vlh, ) (Entered: 01/19/1994)

Jan. 18, 1994
89

HEARING MINUTES(RWW): Court finds consent decree reasonable, fair and adequate both (a) substantively, and (b) as to how it was negotiated, and thereby approves of the consent decree. Judgment shall be entered. (wied, ) (Entered: 01/20/1994)

Jan. 18, 1994
90

CONSENT DECREE filed. (cc: all counsel) (wied, ) (Entered: 01/20/1994)

Jan. 18, 1994
91

BRIEF by plaintiff UAW in support of entry of consent decree. (wied, ) (Entered: 01/20/1994)

Jan. 18, 1994
92

JUDGMENT by Deputy Clerk and APPROVED by U.S. District Judge that IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the complaint is dismissed in accordance with the terms of the Consent Decree entered January 18, 1994. Terminating case . (cc: all counsel) (wied, ) (Entered: 01/20/1994)

Jan. 19, 1994
93

AFFIDAVIT of Ralph O. Jones; Johnson Controls, Inc. has fully complied with its obligations to make the payments of back pay, interest, attorneys' fees and costs described in Sections VII.B. through VIII.E. of the Consent Decree. (wied, )

May 24, 1994

State / Territory: Wisconsin

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Special Collection(s):

Private Employment Class Actions

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 6, 1984

Closing Date: Jan. 19, 1994

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All past, present, and future production and maintenance employees in bargaining units represented by Intl. Union, United Automobile, Aero and Agri Implement Workers of America, who were affected by the defendant's Fetal Protection Policy.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Johnson Controls, Inc. (Milwaukee, Milwaukee), Private Entity/Person

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: High six figures

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Issues

General:

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Discrimination-area:

Demotion

Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff

Harassment / Hostile Work Environment

Hiring

Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)

Pay / Benefits

Promotion

Seniority

Discrimination-basis:

Pregnancy discrimination

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Female

Male