Much litigation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 involves class actions. This result was a consequence of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 placing the primary enforcement mechanisms of the Act in the hands of private parties. Reinforcing this result was the conclusion by most federal courts that title VII actions were by definition class actions and that the requirements of rule 23(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure could be met with broad allegations in a complaint. These courts also liberally construed rule 23(a) to allow what was termed an "across-the-board" attack on an employer's employment policies. This doctrine permitted an employee, who was allegedly discriminated against by an employer policy, to represent in a class action other employees who were subject to different employment policies. This view of Title VII class actions was limited by the Supreme Court in East Texas Motor Freight v. Rodriguez and, more recently, was rejected by the Supreme Court in General Telephone v. Falcon which held that all the requirements of rule 230(a)1 must be met to certify a Title VII class action. These Supreme Court decisions should cause legal theorists and practicing attorneys to wonder how the circuit courts went astray by liberally construing rule 23 requirements and how the enforcement mechanisms of title VII will operate after Falcon and Rodriguez. This Comment addresses these questions and examines the policy basis of the Supreme Court decisions.
Title VII Class Actions: A New Era?,
62 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol62/iss1/5