California Brewers Assn. v. Bryant

PETITIONER: California Brewers Assn.
RESPONDENT: Bryant
LOCATION: Superior Court of San Diego

DOCKET NO.: 78-1548
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 444 US 598 (1980)
ARGUED: Nov 27, 1979
DECIDED: Feb 20, 1980

ADVOCATES:
James Wolpman - for respondent Abram Bryant
Lawrence G. Wallace - argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae urging affirmance
Roland P. Wilder, Jr. -
Willard Z. Carr, Jr. - for petitioners, by Roland P

Facts of the case

Question

Media for California Brewers Assn. v. Bryant

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 27, 1979 in California Brewers Assn. v. Bryant

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 20, 1980 in California Brewers Assn. v. Bryant

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in California Brewers Association against Bryant will be announced by Mr. Justice Stewart.

Potter Stewart:

This is case is here by reason of the grant of writ of certiorari to United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes unlawful any practices, procedures or tests that operate to freeze the status quo of prior discriminatory employment practices.

But to this general rule, Section 703 (h) of the Act provides an exception.

That Section makes clear that the routine application of a bond fide seniority system is not unlawful under Title 7 even where the employer's pre-Act discrimination has resulted in White people having greater existing seniority rights than Negroes.

The present case concerns the application of Section 703 (h) to a particular clause in a California brewery industry collective bargaining-agreement.

That agreement accords greater benefits to permanent employees than it does to temporary employees and the clause in question provides that a temporary employee must work at least 45 weeks in a single calendar year before he can become a permanent employee.

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that this 45-week requirement was not a seniority system or part of a seniority system within the meaning of Section 703 (h).

We granted certiorari and for the reason stated in the Court's written opinion filed with the clerk today, we hold that the Court of Appeals was in error.

Accordingly, the judgment is vacated and the case is remanded to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings.

Mr. Justice Powell and Mr. Justice Stevens took no part in the consideration or decision of this case, and Mr. Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion which Mr. Justice Brennan and Mr. Justice Blackmun have joined.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Mr. Justice Stewart.