Law School Case Brief
Goyette v. DCA Advert. - 828 F. Supp. 227 (S.D.N.Y. 1993)
In a disparate treatment employment discrimination suit the plaintiff has the burden of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination, which can be rebutted by the defendant's production of a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the employment decision. The plaintiff has the ultimate burden of proving both that the defendant's explanation is a pretext, and that the real reason for the defendant's decision was to discriminate against the plaintiff. Thus, the plaintiff carries the burden of persuasion at all times in an employment discrimination case.
A case of disparate or adverse impact discrimination is one in which a plaintiff proves that a policy of its employer, although neutral on its face, is discriminatory in its effects. Such a policy is only justified if it serves, in a significant way, the legitimate employment goals of the employer. Even if the policy significantly serves the legitimate employment goals of the employer, a plaintiff may still prevail in a disparate impact case by showing that an alternative non-discriminatory policy would serve the employer's legitimate interests with equal effectiveness.
Dentsu Inc. (Dentsu), was an advertising and communications company based in Tokyo. In 1983, Dentsu entered into a joint venture with an American advertising agency, Young and Rubicam (Y&R), to form a new advertising agency named DYR. Three years later, Y&R sold its 50% interest in DYR to Dentsu. Dentsu then renamed the agency DCA. DCA, an American corporation, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dentsu with offices in New York City and Los Angeles. In September of 1990,DCA discharged 22 American employees. Five of these employees, who were all American-born filed a case against their former employer claiming disparate treatment and impact discrimination based on their national origin, in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and New York State Human Rights Law. DCA filed a motion for summary judgment on all the employees' claims.
Should summary judgment in favor of DCA be granted?
Yes, only as to disparate impact claims.
The court denied summary judgment to the employer on the employees' disparate treatment claims under Title VII and state law because it determined that the employees had established a prima facie case that required determination of genuine issues of fact. The court granted summary judgment to the employer on the employees' disparate impact claims because the statistical evidence that the employees asserted to prove the disparate impact did not differentiate between legal citizenship discrimination and illegal national origin discrimination.
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