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EEOC v. SWITCHING SYS. DIV. OF ROCKWELL INTL. CORP

January 14, 1992

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
SWITCHING SYSTEMS DIVISION OF ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, Defendant.


ROVNER


The opinion of the court was delivered by: ILANA DIAMOND ROVNER

I. INTRODUCTION

 II. FACTS

 Switching is a division of Rockwell International Corporation ("Rockwell"). (Joint Statement para. 1.) *fn1" Rockwell operates four major businesses at more than 160 separate facilities. (Id.) Rockwell maintains corporate policies which govern the conduct of its businesses. These policies apply to all facilities operated by Rockwell, including Switching. (Id. at para. 2.) Rockwell Corporate Policy A-08, the policy at issue in this case, provides that "'no false, misleading or artificial entries are [to be] made in the books and records of the Corporation.'" (Id. (quoting Corporate Policy A-08). The Rockwell policy does not specify the disciplinary action that shall be taken in response to a breach of this policy by an employee of the corporation; instead, each of Rockwell's divisions and/or operations is responsible for adopting and implementing its own policies and procedures for enforcing Rockwell's corporate policies. (Id. at paras. 3-4.) Pursuant to that authority, Switching has adopted and maintains Policies A-13 and A-14, which apply to its salaried and hourly employees. These policies include in the offenses warranting "immediate dismissal" from defendant's employment: "'falsifying employment application or medical questionnaire'" and (2) "'falsifying work records.'" (Id. at para. 5 (quoting Switching Policies A-13 and A-14.) In contrast to Switching, other units of Rockwell do not require immediate dismissal for the above offenses; those units instead have adopted policies "which permit consideration of extenuating circumstances in determining the appropriate discipline for falsification of Company records." (Id. at para. 9.)

 Between February 27, 1984 *fn2" and March 23, 1989, Switching discharged fourteen of its employees for violations of the falsification policies set out above. (Id. at para. 6.) Four of those employees were dismissed for falsifications on their employment applications; the four were aliens of various national origins who were not entitled to work in the United States at the time they submitted the falsified applications. For example, Switching hired Steve Akinsola on March 27, 1987 and terminated his employment on April 15, 1987. Akinsola had falsified his employment application by stating that he was a citizen of the United States when actually he was an alien of Nigerian national origin who could not be employed in this country. (Id. at para. 6(a).) Switching hired Ector Bejar, an individual of Mexican national origin, as a temporary employee on July 23, 1984, and dismissed him on September 20, 1984, after discovering that Bejar had "falsified his name, social security number and citizenship status on his employment application." (Id. at para. 6(b).) When he had made application to Switching, Bejar was an alien who was not entitled to work in the United States. (Id.) Ramon Garcia, also an individual of Mexican national origin, was hired by Switching on February 27, 1984. His employment was terminated on April 8, 1988, after Switching discovered that he had falsified his social security number on his employment application, as well as on other company records. (Id. at para. 6(f).) At the time of his application, Garcia was an alien who could not be employed in the United States; at the time of his discharge, however, Garcia had become a legal resident alien. (Id.) Finally, Switching hired Ana Sota on June 17, 1980, and terminated her employment on February 25, 1987. Sota purportedly had utilized a false name and social security number on her application for employment and medical leave of absence documents. (Id. at para. 6(1).) Sota was an alien of Mexican national origin at the time she submitted her application to Switching, but by the time of her discharge, she had become a United States citizen. (Id.)

 The remaining ten employees who were dismissed pursuant to the Switching falsification policies were Caucasians of American origin. (Id. at para. 6(c)-(e), (g)-(k), (m)-(n).) None of those ten employees were terminated for falsifying information on an employment application, however. Instead, they had falsified such items as time sheets, time records, expense reports, and production records. (Id.) Moreover, one employee was dismissed for falsifying information because he was working for a competing company at the same time that he was employed by Switching. (Id. at para. 6(g).)

 At least since February 27, 1984, upon learning of a violation of the above sections of Policies A-13 and A-14, Switching has terminated the employment of each and every offending employee. (Id. at para. 7.) But for the above-described violations of the company's policies, none of the fourteen employees would have been discharged by Switching. (Id.)

 In the course of discovery in this case, Rockwell provided information relating to eighty-two of its employees who were employed at units or divisions other than Switching and who were disciplined for falsifying information on their employment applications. (Id. at para. 10.) From the materials produced by Rockwell, it was not possible to determine the national origin of most of these employees. (Id.) Eighty of these eighty-two employees were discharged as a result of their falsifications. Of the remaining two, an employee of American national origin was disciplined for erroneously listing an academic degree on her application; her wages were reduced by ten percent. (Id.) The other, an individual of unknown national origin, faced a reduction in pay and a six-month extended probationary period after it was discovered that he had falsified information on his employment application. (Id.)

 III. ANALYSIS

 On a motion for summary judgment, the moving party bears the burden of establishing that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Griffin v. Thomas, 929 F.2d 1210, 1212 (7th Cir. 1991); Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The Court must consider the facts and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-movant, and where there are doubts as to whether a genuine factual dispute exists, the Court must resolve those doubts in favor of the non-moving party. Griffin, 929 F.2d at 1212; see also New Burnham Prairie Homes, Inc. v. Village of Burnham, 910 F.2d 1474, 1477 (7th Cir. 1990). The instant cross motions for summary judgment are submitted pursuant to stipulated facts. Accordingly, the Court's task is to determine on the basis of those facts which of the parties has established entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. See Market Street Associates Limited Partnership v. Frey, 941 F.2d 588, 590 (7th Cir. 1991); Commercial Union Insurance Co. v. Ramada Hotel Operating Co., 852 F.2d 298, 300 (7th Cir. 1988).

 A. Disparate Impact Claims under Title VII.

 As the Supreme Court explained in Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U.S. 642, 645, 109 S. Ct. 2115, 2118, 104 L. Ed. 2d 733 (1989),

 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) makes it an unfair employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any individual with respect to hiring or the terms and condition of employment because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or to limit, segregate or classify his employees in ways that would adversely ...


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