McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company

PETITIONER: McDonald
RESPONDENT: Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company
LOCATION: Vermillion Police Station

DOCKET NO.: 75-260
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 427 US 273 (1976)
ARGUED: Apr 20, 1976
DECIDED: Jun 25, 1976

ADVOCATES:
Chris Dixie - for respondent Local 988, Intern
C. George Niebank, Jr. - for respondent Santa Fe Trail Transp
Henry M. Rosenblum - for petitioners
J. Stanley Pottinger - for the U. S., as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court

Facts of the case

Question

Media for McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 20, 1976 in McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 25, 1976 in McDonald v. Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company

Thurgood Marshall:

In the second case, McDonald against the Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company is from the Fifth Circuit.

Petitioners in this case, two white employees of the Santa Fe Trail Transportation Company were fired after being charged with involvement in the theft of property entrusted to the company, but a similarly charged Negro employee was not fired, alleging that their firing was racially motivated and that the union acquiesced in the racially discriminating firing, petitioners brought this action in the Southern District of Texas under Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 64 and 42 United States Code, Section 1981.

The District Court dismissed the case on the pleadings, holding that 1981 does not protect white persons from racial discrimination in private employment and that petitioners have failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted under Title 7.

The Court of Appeals affirmed.

In an opinion filed today with the clerk, we hold first, that Title 7 prohibits racial discrimination in private employment against white persons as well as non-whites.

And that the facts alleged by petitioner were adequate under McDonald Douglas Corporation against Green, to state a claim of such racial discrimination.

Crime or other misconduct against an employer may be legitimate basis for discharge but it cannot be used as a pretext for racial discrimination.

Secondly we hold that 1981 also applies to racial discrimination in private employment against white persons as well as non-whites.

We find this conclusion be required not only by the language of the statute, but also by the legislative history.

Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is reversed and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Mr. Justice White has filed a concurring statement, concurring in part in statement and dissenting in part.

Mr. Justice Rehnquist has filed a similar statement concurring in part and dissenting in part.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Marshall.