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Slack v. Havens

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
522 F.2d 1091 (9th Cir. 1975)


Facts

Berrel Matthews, Emily Hampton, Isabell Slack, and Kathleen Hale (plaintiffs), four black women, worked in a department of Havens (Havens) (defendant) industrial plant, along with a white, female co-worker. On January 31, 1968, the plaintiffs' immediate supervisor informed them that they would be suspending their normal work in order to perform heavy cleanup in their department. The plaintiffs’ white co-worker was excused from the cleanup duties, despite having less seniority than three of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs protested that the cleanup was outside their job description and asked why their white co-worker had been excused. Nevertheless, the following day the supervisor instructed the plaintiffs to perform the work "or else." The supervisor also made multiple derogatory remarks about "colored people." After further discussion, the plaintiffs were fired by a more senior supervisor. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. §2000e-2(a)(1)), alleging they were unlawfully fired on the basis of their race. Havens claimed the dispute was merely a disagreement over the plaintiffs' job assignments. The plaintiffs prevailed in district court. Havens appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

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