Case: Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc.

3:74-cv-01884 | U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Filed Date: Aug. 20, 1973

Closed Date: Dec. 23, 1980

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Female employees of Pan American World Airways, Inc. brought this suit on August 20, 1973, in the Central District of California under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They alleged that Pan Am had engaged in sex discrimination. Specifically, the named female employees claimed that when they became pregnant, Pan Am required them to take a pregnancy leave during a specific period and denied them employment benefits and seniority during their leave. The plaintiffs sought class certifica…

Female employees of Pan American World Airways, Inc. brought this suit on August 20, 1973, in the Central District of California under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They alleged that Pan Am had engaged in sex discrimination. Specifically, the named female employees claimed that when they became pregnant, Pan Am required them to take a pregnancy leave during a specific period and denied them employment benefits and seniority during their leave. The plaintiffs sought class certification, which was granted on January 24, 1977 by Judge William Schwarzer as to all female flight attendants who were employed by Pan Am after October 24, 1972. Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 74 F.R.D. 24 (C.D. Cal. 1977).

The case proceeded to trial, after which the District Court held that Pan Am's policies requiring commencement of leave upon pregnancy (Stop Policy) and continuation of leave for sixty days after birth (Start Policy) constituted prima facie sex discrimination but that both policies were justified as business necessities and bona fide occupational qualifications. The district court held that neither the seniority policy nor the sick leave policy constituted a prima facie violation. Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 437 F.Supp. 413 (N.D. Cal. 1977), supplemented in 441 F.Supp. 881 (N.D. Cal. 1977)

The class action plaintiffs did not appeal the district court's sick leave holding but did appeal the violation of the Stop and Start Policies and the Seniority Policy to the Ninth Circuit. In 1980, the Court of Appeals (Farris, J.) agreed with the District Court that the Stop Policy, although prima facie sex discrimination, was justified by safety considerations. It remanded for additional fact-finding on the Start Policy. It also held that the Seniority Policy constituted prima facie sex discrimination and instructed the district court to determine whether Pan Am established that its policy was justified as either a business necessity or a bona fide occupation qualification. Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 649 F.2d 670 (9th Cir. 1980). Judge Schroeder dissented, and would have held all three policies in violation of Title VII.

The outcome of this action on remand is unknown.

People


Judge(s)

Schwarzer, William W (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chandler, Jo Ann (California)

Davis, Nancy L. (California)

Dunlap, Mary (California)

Graff, Joan Messing (California)

Hansen, John T. (California)

Ince, Nancy Scott (California)

Lipson, David R. (California)

Russell, Dayne Lee (California)

Sweet, Clifford (California)

Judge(s)

Schwarzer, William W (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Chandler, Jo Ann (California)

Davis, Nancy L. (California)

Dunlap, Mary (California)

Graff, Joan Messing (California)

Hansen, John T. (California)

Ince, Nancy Scott (California)

Lipson, David R. (California)

Russell, Dayne Lee (California)

Sweet, Clifford (California)

Wallace, Robert B. (District of Columbia)

Yank, Ronald (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Barron, George J. (California)

Beeson, Duane B. (California)

Diedrich, William L. (California)

Hoeg, Karen L. (California)

McFeely, Stephen A. (California)

Odle, James N. (California)

Paras, James C. (California)

Phillips, Barbara Ashley (California)

Rosenfeld, David Albert (California)

Rotman, David A. (California)

Venning, Robert S. (California)

Waysman, William H. (California)

Wheeler, Raymond L. (California)

Wood, Robert N. (California)

Zebrack, Joel (California)

Other Attorney(s)

Erickson, John H. (California)

Hewitt, Henry S. (California)

Steinbock, Mariam (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Harriss v. Pan American World Airways, Inc.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

74 F.R.D. 24

Jan. 24, 1977 Order/Opinion

Memorandum and Decision of the Facts

HARRISS V. PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS, INC.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

437 F.Supp. 413

Sept. 2, 1977 Order/Opinion

SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

HARRISS V. PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS, INC.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

441 F.Supp. 881

Dec. 19, 1977 Order/Opinion

Opinion

HARRISS V. PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS, INC.

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

649 F.2d 670

Dec. 23, 1980 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 20, 1973

Closing Date: Dec. 23, 1980

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Female flight attendants employed by Pan Am who complained that the company's pregnancy policy discriminated against female employees.

Plaintiff Type(s):

EEOC Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Pan American World Airways, Inc., Private Entity/Person

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Unknown

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Unknown

Issues

General:

Disparate Impact

Discrimination-area:

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

Pay / Benefits

Promotion

Discrimination-basis:

Pregnancy discrimination

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Female

EEOC-centric:

Direct Suit on Merits