The Case Breiner V. Nevada Department Of Corrections

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In 1964, Congress and President Johnson addressed the rampant discrimination that was occurring in the workplace against African-Americans as well as other people of color by passing the Civil Rights Act. In addition to addressing discrimination based on color, they also addressed other forms of workplace discrimination that had historically been a problem. Title VII of the act applies to employers who employee 15 or more employees and prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Further, Congress also enshrined a prohibition on discrimination based on an employee’s or potential employee’s association with another person that fit into any of those categories. As with anything else, …show more content…
One example of this is found in the case Breiner v. Nevada Department of Corrections. With the expanding incarceration rate in the U.S., some states have found that to keep up they need to outsource the warehousing of these people with private contractors. Unfortunately, with very little oversight and with such an important mandate the Nevada Department of Corrections found that some of these companies ran these facilities in an abysmal fashion. In September 2003, they specifically identified a women’s prison facility that had a near total breakdown of authority and accountability. They found that this private prison operator had allowed an environment to develop that was rampant with inappropriate sexual contact between guards and inmates. Seeing that this was obviously improper and dangerous for the security of the facility, the department decided to terminate the contract and take the prison back themselves in an effort to turn it around. They completely started fresh re-staffing the facility with new guards. Being concerned about the sexual culture that had developed, they felt that in order to reinstitute the type of discipline that was needed it was necessary to re-staff the facility with mostly female guards. The reasoning was that the male inmates are more likely to commit sexual improprieties …show more content…
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed however and found in favor of the plaintiffs, overturning the judgment of the district court. The Ninth Circuit found that the department had not met the 3-pronged test which was necessary to justify the discrimination. First, the department could not present any evidence that a lieutenant had had any sexual contact with an inmate and as such were unable to show that the gender job qualification was even reasonably necessary. Second, the court found that the department’s suggestion that males would be more likely to tolerate sexual abuse simply a generalization and much like the assertion that females were more nurturing and less susceptible to manipulation by the inmates, was simply grounded in gender stereotypes and thus had no standing. Finally, the court found that the departments belief that they could not reasonably assess male applicant’s for this qualification yet could assess a female applicant easily simply unreasonable. For all of these reasons, the policy was struck

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