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United Air Lines, Inc. v. Evans
United States Supreme Court
431 U.S. 553 (1977)
Carolyn Evans (plaintiff) worked as a flight attendant for United Air Lines, Inc. (United) (defendant) beginning in 1966. At the time, United had a policy that female flight attendants could not be married. Evans got married and was forced to resign from her position in February of 1968. Evans did not file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to protest her forced resignation, but a court subsequently found in a case involving a different female flight attendant that United’s policy violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Evans subsequently sought reemployment with United, and United rehired Evans in 1972. However, United treated Evans as a new employee and did not credit Evans with any of her prior years of service for seniority purposes. Other male and female United employees who resigned and were subsequently rehired also received no seniority credit for their prior service. Evans brought an action against United alleging a violation of Title VII. Evans claimed that United’s seniority system unlawfully discriminated against her based on her sex because (1) she was treated less favorably than males hired between her date of termination and date of rehiring, and (2) the seniority system gave a present effect to United’s past illegal no-marriage policy. Evans did not allege that United’s seniority system differentiated between similarly situated employees based on their sex. The district court dismissed Evans’s claim, finding that Evans’s action was based on her 1968 forced resignation, which she failed to timely challenge with the EEOC. However, the court of appeals reversed, holding that Evans was challenging the seniority system based on the present effects of the 1968 discrimination. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)
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