Logourl black
From our private database of 14,100+ case briefs...

Dothard v. Rawlinson

United States Supreme Court
433 U.S. 321 (1977)


Facts

Rawlinson (plaintiff), a 22-year-old woman with college training in correctional psychology, applied for a position as a correctional counselor trainee in Alabama. An Alabama statute required that state correctional facility employees maintain a minimum weight of 120 pounds and have a minimum height of 5 foot 2 inches. Correctional counselors’ primary duty was to maintain security and control over inmates through constant supervision and observation. In addition to the height and weight requirements, correctional counselors were required to have a valid Alabama driver’s license and a high school or equivalent degree, have no physical defects, and fall between the ages of 20.5 and 45 years at the time of employment. Outside these criteria, correctional counselors were selected by merit, based on education and prior experience. They were not subject to any written exam. Rawlinson was denied employment, because she did not meet the minimum weight requirement. She sued the Alabama Board of Corrections (the State) (defendant) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., alleging that the statutory height and weight requirements, though facially neutral, functionally operated to disproportionately exclude women from employment in the State’s correctional facilities. The district court found that when combined, Alabama’s statutory height and weight requirements would exclude 41.13 percent of the United States’ female population but less than 1 percent of its male population. The district court concluded that Rawlinson made a prima facie showing of unlawful sex discrimination, which the State did not sufficiently rebut. The State appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court, arguing that the district court erroneously permitted Rawlinson to rely on generalized national statistics to make a prima facie case rather than requiring more specific statistical evidence about actual correctional counselor applicants in Alabama. The State further argued it had successfully rebutted Rawlinson’s prima facie case by showing that the height and weight requirements were job related.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Concurrence (Rehnquist, J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Dissent (White, J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 218,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.