International Union, UAW v. Johnson Controls, Inc.
United States Supreme Court
499 U.S. 187 (1991)
Johnson Controls, Inc. (Johnson) (defendant), a battery manufacturer, maintained a policy first discouraging and later outright prohibiting women employees from taking jobs that involved exposure to the mineral lead, a main ingredient in batteries. This policy was based on known health risks related to occupational lead exposure, which included harm to unborn fetuses. In its fetal-protection policy, Johnson defined women as all women capable of becoming pregnant; it excluded only women who could provide medical documentation of their inability to bear children. A number of Johnson employees (plaintiffs) challenged the policy. The plaintiffs included a woman who had been sterilized in order to avoid losing her job, a woman who had experienced a pay cut when she was transferred out of a lead-exposed job, and a man who was denied a leave of absence that he had sought in order to lower his lead levels before becoming a father. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Johnson. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that Johnson’s fetal-protection policy was justifiable as a business necessity. The plaintiffs petitioned for review by the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Blackmun, J.)
Concurrence (Scalia, J.)
Concurrence (White, J.)
What to do next…
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 724,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
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.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 724,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,500 briefs, keyed to 983 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.