Friday, November 1, 2013

Southwest Sunsites, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission case brief

Southwest Sunsites, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission case brief summary
785 F.2d 1413 (1986)

Plaintiff employees appealed an order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, which granted judgment to defendant employers on plaintiffs' claims for back pay under a class action settlement of claims brought pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e et seq. and 42 U.S.C.S. § 1981.


  • Defendants employers entered into a settlement agreement on a class action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.. 
  • Defendants had discriminated against women in the hiring of off-season workers, pursuant to a ruling of the California Industrial Welfare Commission (Commission) that women were not to be employed in positions requiring the lifting of over 25 pounds. 
  • Plaintiff employees were member of the class, and filed for back pay compensation under the agreement. 
  • Defendants argued that they were immune from the claim, because they had relied in good faith upon the Commission's order. 
  • The court held that defendants were entitled to the "good faith" defense to plaintiffs' discrimination claims, because they had no knowledge of court rulings or orders contrary to the Commission's. 
  • The court held that defendants were not required to prove by "clear and convincing evidence" that plaintiffs would not have referred or hired them in the absence of discrimination. 
  • The court held that one plaintiff failed to establish that, but for the discrimination, she would have applied for, and received, a different position.


The court affirmed judgment for defendant employers, because they acted in good faith and plaintiff employees were not entitled to back pay.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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