Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio
United States Supreme Court
490 U.S. 642 (1989)
Wards Cove Packing Co. (Wards Cove) (defendant) owned salmon canneries in remote parts of Alaska that operated only in the summer months, during salmon runs. The canneries were closed for the rest of the year. All Wards Cove employees were classified into one of two job types: cannery positions or noncannery positions. The cannery workers, considered unskilled laborers, were predominately nonwhite Filipinos and Alaska Natives. Cannery workers were largely hired from local villages surrounding the cannery facilities. Noncannery employees, considered skilled laborers, were mostly white non-locals hired during the winter months from Wards Cove’s offices in other states. All noncannery employees were paid more than cannery employees. Additionally, during salmon runs, noncannery employees lived and ate in separate dormitories and dining facilities than cannery employees. A class of cannery employees (plaintiffs) sued Wards Cove under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., alleging that the company’s various hiring, rehiring, and promotion practices had resulted in racial discrimination and challenging the segregated housing and dining arrangements. The court of appeals held the plaintiffs made a prima facie showing of disparate-impact discrimination. Wards Cove petitioned for review by the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
Dissent (Stevens, 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 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read 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. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 174,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 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.