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Breiner v. Nevada Department of Corrections

610 F.3d 1202 (2010)

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Breiner v. Nevada Department of Corrections

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

610 F.3d 1202 (2010)

Facts

Edward Breiner and two other male Nevada correctional officers (plaintiffs) worked for the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) (defendant). The Southern Nevada Women’s Correctional Facility (SNWCF) was operated by a private company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). An investigation by the inspector general revealed that SNWCF had become endemic with inappropriate and illegal sexual misconduct. Staff and inmates had been engaging in sexual behavior. Inmates traded sex with prison staff for contraband. CCA management failed to address the misconduct. NDOC took back control of SNWCF from CCA. NDOC decided that the three correctional lieutenant positions at SNWCF would be filled by women. NDOC also determined that 70 percent of the front-line staff would be women. The NDOC administrators based their gender restrictions on the assumptions that male correctional lieutenants were likely to condone sexual abuse by male subordinates, that male lieutenants were likely to sexually abuse female inmates, and that female lieutenants had a maternal instinct that made them better equipped for the role. NDOC did not have any data or evidence that supported the assertion that male lieutenants were incapable of supervising front-line staff or prone to sexual abuse themselves. No evidence indicates any correctional lieutenants sexually abused any inmates. Breiner and two other correctional officers brought a sex-discrimination claim against NDOC. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of NDOC. Breiner and his co-officers appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Berzon, J.)

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