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Local , util. wkrs. u. v. southern california edison co., f. supp. (c.d. cal. )

Blossfeld and David L. Farrow, individuals, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Webster, Los Angeles, Cal. Carr, Jr. Gregory, Los Angeles, Cal. Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff's motion and defendant Industrial Welfare Commission's cross-motion for summary judgment. The parties have stipulated to the facts for purposes of these motions. Since October 8,she has held the position of clerk-typist in the Clerical and Technical working unit of the company.

In October ofa vacancy occurred in the company in the position of junior clerk. Plaintiff Blossfeld made a timely application for the position.

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Edison based its conclusion that plaintiff was unqualified solely on the facts that the job of junior clerk requires lifting objects in excess of 50 pounds on a regular basis, that plaintiff Blossfeld is a woman, and that Section of the California Labor Code provides that "No female employee shall be requested or permitted to lift any object weighing 50 pounds or over. Plaintiffs contend that Section cannot justify Edison's conduct.

The Act makes it unlawful for an employer. Plaintiffs further contend that in relying on the California regulations and in denying Blossfeld's bid for the position of junior clerk, defendant Edison committed an unlawful employment practice in violation of Title VII. Defendant Industrial Welfare Commission argues that these "savings clauses" reflect a Congressional intent to leave state protective legislation intact and that they would be rendered "meaningless and nugatory" if they did not preserve state statutes such as the one presently in issue.

I interpret the clauses differently. I find that the purpose of these sections is to insure preservation of state laws which parallel the Federal Act in prohibiting employment discrimination, such as California's recently amended Fair Employment Practices Act. I do not find that the "savings clauses" are in any way intended to affect state protective legislation for women.

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Thus, California's weight lifting restrictions are not exempted from the broad provisions of Section a 42 U. Defendants also argue that the California statute upon which Edison relied is valid because sex is a bona fide occupational qualification for weight lifting. Section e 42 U. Section e creates a very narrow exception to the Act; it refers to a particular business or enterprise rather than to broad of employment such as industrial or technological occupations.

Secondly, it refers to employing any individual on the basis of sex and does not permit discrimination on the basis of groups. Finally, it permits discrimination on the basis of sex when this is a reasonably necessary qualification. The California statute in question is much broader than Section e would permit.

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It applies not to a "particular business", but to any occupation. It applies not to an "individual", but to a class which comprises over half the population of the state. Finally, in order to establish a BFOQ it must be shown that the criterion in issue is a "reasonably necessary" prerequisite to satisfactory performance of the employment in question.

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It could be said that in order to operate an authentically atmospheric Chinese restaurant, it is reasonably necessary to have the waiters and waitresses be Chinese. Similarly, in order for a play to be communicative and effective, it must be reasonably necessary to have all female roles played by women and all male roles played by men.

On the contrary, there are without doubt a substantial of women who could lift over 50 pounds and a large of men who could not. Therefore, it does not appear at all necessary, let alone reasonably necessary, that a position requiring such lifting be filled by a male. We conclude that the classification and discrimination authorized by Section does not constitute a BFOQ. Since the California statute consequently permits discrimination prohibited by Title VII, it unavoidably conflicts with that Title and is invalid under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

Defendant Edison's conduct pursuant to the invalid statute constitutes an unlawful employment practice in violation of the Act. By its decision, this Court does not mean to suggest that all rules restricting certain types of employment to one sex are invalid under Title VII of the Equal Employment Opportunities Act.

Such restrictions can be made where sex is relevant. State laws or private employer policies imposing weight lifting restrictions would be permissible under Title VII if they applied the same limits to men as to women or if they provided that every individual lift no more than is safe or he is capable of, that amount to be determined on an individual basis.

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Had Edison felt that Plaintiff Blossfeld, for example, could not safely lift over 50 pounds on a regular basis an argument which defendants never raiseit would have been lawful for the company to deny her the position of junior clerk. We are not the first judicial body to decide that state protective legislation in the form of weight lifting restrictions is invalid under Title VII.

Such restrictions have been evaluated by several courts and in every case but one, [2] these restrictions have been held inconsistent with the federal Act. In Rosenfeld v. Southern Pacific Co. Rosenfeld to the position of agent-telegrapher constituted an unlawful employment practice under the Act. Similarly, in Weeks v. Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph, F. Although the appellate court did not decide the validity of the state statute because it had been repealed by the date of the decision, the court did hold that no BFOQ existed and that defendant's conduct was unlawful under Title VII of the Equal Employment Opportunities Act.

The Court's reasoning, which this court approves, was that "in order to rely on the [BFOQ] exception an employer has the burden of proving that he had reasonable cause to believe, that is, a factual basis for believing, that all or substantially all women would be unable to perform safely and efficiently the duties of the job involved.

In Richards v. Griffith Rubber Mills, F. The jobs were given to two men with less seniority.

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Employer Griffith justified its conduct by reference to the union contract which required that females get two ten-minute rest periods and Order No. In response to the contention that the Order and defendant's conduct violated Section a of the Equal Employment Opportunities Act, the Court stated: "the law no longer permits either employers or the states to deal with women as a class in relation to employment to their disadvantage.

There was no state legislation involved in Bowe v. Colgate-Palmolive Co. However, Colgate had a company policy which restricted women to jobs which did not require lifting more than 35 pounds. The Circuit Court reversed the trial court, holding that the defendant "may if it so desires, retain its pound weight-lifting limit as a general guideline for all of its employees, male and female.

The courts are not the only bodies to conclude that state protective legislation imposing weight lifting restrictions upon women is invalid under Title VII. The influence of the Guidelines on this court is diminished by the fact that they are not a contemporaneous construction of the Act, but are only recently promulgated guidelines which contradict those put forth by the Commission from to Nevertheless, Congress has entrusted this body to make recommendations regarding the implementation of the Act, and the Commission's conclusions, which are the result of intimate dealings with employment discrimination in relation to the Act for a period of over six years, are entitled to some weight with this Court.

The extensive authority indicating that weight lifting restrictions applicable solely to women are impermissible under the Act coupled with our independent finding that the provisions of Section clearly conflict with the provisions of the Act render inescapable the conclusion that California Labor Code Section is invalidated by the Equal Employment Opportunities Act of and unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause.

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Having reached the conclusion heretofore announced, it is unnecessary for this court to consider plaintiff's contention that the statute is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. Since defendant Edison has discriminated against plaintiff on the basis of sex under conditions where sex did not constitute a BFOQ, it has committed an unlawful employment practice under Title VII.

Under these circumstances, Section k of the Act 42 U. The Court is appreciative of the fact that Edison was in a difficult position, caught between conflicting statutory directives. Nevertheless, the course of action undertaken by Edison resulted in discrimination and a deprivation to plaintiff of her lawful rights and the expenditure of a substantial amount of funds to recover those rights. Therefore, this Court deems it proper to award reasonable attorney's fees to plaintiff as part of her costs.

Richards, supra, F. Plaintiff's counsel is ordered within the next 15 days to prepare a report of the work he has done in this case and to suggest a reasonable fee for his efforts. Upon receipt of this information, the Court will set a hearing for final determination of the amount of attorney's fees to be awarded to plaintiffs.

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Genuine Parts Co. However, the two district court decisions holding weight lifting restrictions valid upon which the Minnesota court based its ruling, were reversed on that ground on appeal. See, Weeks v.

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Southern Bell Telephone, infra, and Bowe v. Colgate, infra. The district court decision in Gudbrandson was never appealed. Southern California Edison Co. LocalUtil.

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United States District Court, C. December 23, Let us examine the defendant's anti-preemption argument. Section of the Act provides that "Nothing contained in any title of this Act shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of Congress to occupy the field in which any such title operates to the exclusion of State laws on the same subject matter, nor shall any provision of this Act be construed as invalidating any provision of State law unless such provision is inconsistent with any of the purposes of this Act, or any provision thereof.

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Section of Title VII states that, "Nothing in this subchapter shall be deemed to exempt or relieve any person from any liability, duty, penalty, or punishment provided by any present or future law of any State or political subdivision of a State, other than any such law which purports to require or permit the doing of any act which would be an unlawful employment practice under this subchapter.

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