McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Co.
United States Supreme Court
427 U.S. 273 (1976)
McDonald and a co-worker (plaintiffs), both white, and a fellow black employee, Charles Jackson, worked at Santa Fe Trail Transportation Co. (Santa Fe) (defendant). All three were charged with stealing goods from a large shipment carried by Santa Fe. A week later, the plaintiffs were fired, but Jackson was not. The plaintiffs sued Santa Fe under both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 [a provision derived from the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that protects nonwhite individuals against racial discrimination], alleging unlawful discrimination on the basis of their race. The district court concluded that discharging white employees while retaining a similarly charged black employee did not violate Title VII or § 1981 and dismissed the lawsuit. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed. The plaintiffs petitioned for review by the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)
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