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Law School Case Brief

Slack v. Havens - 522 F.2d 1091 (9th Cir. 1975)


When a successor corporation has not been named in antecedent charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, its liability to suit depends on 1) whether the successor company had notice of the charge, 2) the ability of the predecessor to provide relief, 3) whether there has been a substantial continuity of business operations, 4) whether the new employer uses the same plant, 5) whether he uses the same or substantially the same work force, 6) whether he uses the same or substantially the same supervisory personnel, 7) whether the same jobs exist under substantially the same working conditions, 8) whether he uses the same machinery, equipment and methods of production and 9) whether he produces the same product.


Four black women, Slack, Matthews, Hampton and Hale, brought an action against their former employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, charging discriminatory discharge and seeking damages. They prevailed below, and the employers Glenn C. Havens (Havens) and Havens International (International) filed this appeal, arguing that: (1) Havens was not an "employer" within the meaning of the Act because the period of the employment of these women and the number of his employees did not bring him within the purview of the Act; (2) their request for a jury trial was improperly denied; (3) International was not jointly liable because it was not a party to the antecedent EEOC proceeding, was not in existence when the discriminatory acts occurred, and had been dissolved before the complaint was filed; and (4) the evidence was insufficient to support the findings upon which the award was based.


Did the district court err in holding that Havens is liable for discriminatory discharge against the employees?




The appellate court affirmed the judgment but remanded the matter back to the district court in order for a recalculation of the back pay award. The court held that Havens was an employer within the Act, and therefore, the Act did apply to it. The court also held that Havens’ request for a jury trial was properly denied because jury trials did not have to have been provided in Title VII suits. The court further held that Havens was jointly liable even though it was not a party in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proceeding and was not in existence when the discriminatory acts occurred because it was a successor corporation that was substantially the same as the prior corporation. Finally, the court determined that the evidence was sufficient for the district court to have reasonably found discrimination.

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