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Arizona Governing Committee for Tax Deferred Annuity and Deferred Compensation Plans v. Norris

463 U.S. 1073, 103 S. Ct. 3492, 77 L. Ed. 2d 1236 (1983)

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Arizona Governing Committee for Tax Deferred Annuity and Deferred Compensation Plans v. Norris

United States Supreme Court

463 U.S. 1073, 103 S. Ct. 3492, 77 L. Ed. 2d 1236 (1983)

Facts

The State of Arizona offered state employees the opportunity to enroll in a deferred-compensation plan administered by the Arizona Governing Committee for Tax Deferred Annuity and Deferred Compensation Plans (the committee) (defendant). One of the plan’s benefits-payout options allowed retired employees to receive monthly annuity payments for the rest of their lives. The amount of an employee’s monthly annuity payment depended on factors including how much compensation the employee had deferred as part of the plan and the age at which the employee retired. However, the amount of the payment also depended on the employee’s sex, because the private insurance companies that paid the retirement benefits calculated the annuity payments using sex-based mortality tables that reflected women’s greater average life expectancy as compared to men. As a result of the sex-based annuity calculations, male retirees ultimately received higher monthly payments than female retirees who had deferred the same amount of compensation and retired at the same age. Nathalie Norris and other female state employees (the employees) (plaintiffs) sued the committee, alleging that the annuity plan discriminated on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). The district court granted summary judgment in the employees’ favor and ordered the committee to stop the use of sex-based mortality tables and to make equal benefits payments to similarly situated female and male retirees. The appellate court affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Powell, J.)

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