Brown v. Nucor Corp

Topic(s): 
Class Actions
Worker's Rights
Documents:
Case Description: 

Seven employees at a single Nucor steel plant in South Carolina brought a Title VII class action on behalf of themselves and approximately 100 workers alleging race discrimination in promotions and a hostile work environment. Plaintiffs presented evidence of a rampant culture of racism at the plant, including statistical evidence of a racial disparity in promotions and anecdotal evidence describing instances of discrimination in specific promotions decisions, complaints of discrimination made to and ignored by the General Manager, and retaliation against those who complained of discrimination in promotions, among other things. The case was earlier certified as a class action for both the hostile-environment and promotion-discrimination claims. Later, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the court decertified the promotion class. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit held that Wal-Mart is distinguishable and once against ordered certification.

In May 2015, Nucor filed a petition for rehearing en banc in the Fourth Circuit. Working with Bob Wiggins of Wiggins, Childs, Quinn & Pantazis, Public Citizen prepared the opposition to the petition, arguing that Wal-Mart’s reversal of certification of a class of 1.5 million workers in over 3,000 stores spread across the country bears little resemblance to this case, about a single plant at which pervasive racism and discrimination have been documented by plant-specific statistical and anecdotal evidence. In June 2015, the court denied the petition for rehearing en banc.