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Teamsters v. United States

United States Supreme Court
431 U.S. 324, 97 S.Ct. 1843 (1977)



The United States (the government) (plaintiff) sued trucking company T.I.M.E.-D.C., (defendant), alleging discriminatory employment policies by the employer against Black and Hispanic-surnamed employees, including discriminatory hiring, job assignment, and promotion practices, in violation of § 703(a) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters union (defendant) was also named as a defendant in the case. The government’s prima facie case was based in large part on statistical evidence that Black and minority employees were less likely to be hired for desirable line-driver positions, more likely to be assigned lower-paying and less desirable jobs, and routinely denied promotions on a different basis from white employees. The government also offered testimonial evidence from individuals who identified dozens of instances of discrimination. The district court held that the government made a sufficient prima facie showing of systemic discrimination and that the employer’s rebuttal was inadequate. Thus, the district court held that the defendants violated Title VII. The court of appeals affirmed. T.I.M.E.-D.C. and the union petitioned for review by the United States Supreme Court, arguing that the government’s heavy reliance on statistical proof was insufficient to make a prima facie case.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

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