GREAT AMERICAN FEDERAL SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION ET AL. v. NOVOTNY.
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT.
Argued April 18, 1979.
Decided June 11, 1979.
After respondent, a former officer, director, and loan officer of petitioner Great American Federal Savings and Loan Association (Association) received a right-to-sue letter upon filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he brought this suit against the Association and its directors in Federal District Court, alleging that the Association had intentionally embarked upon a course of conduct the effect of which was to deny to female employees equal employment opportunity; that when respondent expressed support for the female employees at a meeting of the board of directors, his connection with the Association abruptly ended; and that his support for the female employees was the cause of the termination of his employment. Respondent claimed damages under 42 U.S.C. 1985 (3) (1976 ed., Supp. II), contending that he had been injured as the result of a conspiracy to deprive him of equal protection of, and equal privileges and immunities under, the laws. Section 1985 (3) provides, inter alia, that a person so injured may have an action for damages against any one or more of the conspirators. The District Court granted petitioners' motion to dismiss, holding that 1985 (3) could not be invoked because the directors of a single corporation cannot, as a matter of law and fact, engage in a conspiracy. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that conspiracies motivated by an invidious animus against women fall within 1985 (3), and that respondent, a male allegedly injured as a result of such a conspiracy, has standing to bring suit under that provision. The court further ruled that Title VII can be the source of a right asserted in a 1985 (3) action, and that intracorporate conspiracies come within the intendment of the section.
Section 1985 (3) may not be invoked to redress violations of Title VII. It creates no substantive rights itself but is a purely remedial statute, providing a civil cause of action when some otherwise defined federal right - to equal protection of the laws or equal privileges and immunities under the laws - is breached by a conspiracy in the manner defined by the section. Thus, the question in this case is whether rights created by Title VII - respondent alleged that he was injured [442 U.S. 366, 367] by a conspiracy to violate 704 (a) of Title VII, which makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against an employee because he has opposed any employment practice made unlawful by Title VII or because he has participated in an investigation or proceeding under Title VII - may be asserted within the remedial framework of 1985 (3). If a violation of Title VII could be asserted through 1985 (3), a complainant could avoid most if not all of the detailed and specific provisions of Title VII, which provides a comprehensive plan of administrative and judicial process designed to provide an opportunity for nonjudicial and nonadversary resolution of claims. Perhaps most importantly, the complainant could completely bypass the administrative process, which plays such a crucial role in the scheme established by Congress in Title VII. Unimpaired effectiveness can be given to the plan of Title VII only by holding that deprivation of a right created by Title VII cannot be the basis for a cause of action under 1985 (3). Cf. Brown v. GSA, 425 U.S. 820 . Pp. 370-378.
584 F.2d 1235, vacated and remanded.
STEWART, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C. J., and BLACKMUN, POWELL, REHNQUIST, and STEVENS, JJ., joined. POWELL, J., post, p. 378, and STEVENS, J., post, p. 381, filed concurring opinions. WHITE, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and MARSHALL, JJ., joined, post, p. 385.
Eugene K. Connors argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the briefs was Walter G. Bleil.
Stanley M. Stein argued the cause and filed a brief for respondent.
Deputy Solicitor General Wallace argued the cause for the United States et al. as amici curiae urging affirmance. On the brief were Solicitor General McCree, Assistant Attorney General Days, Louis F. Claiborne, Walter W. Barnett, Mildred M. Matesich, Lutz Alexander Prager, and Paul E. Mirengoff. *
[ Footnote * ] Avrum M. Goldberg, William R. Weissman, Robert E. Williams, and Douglas S. McDowell filed a brief for the Equal Employment Advisory Council as amicus curiae urging reversal.
Isabelle Katz Pinzler filed a brief for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. as amici curiae urging affirmance. [442 U.S. 366, 368]
MR. JUSTICE STEWART delivered the opinion of the Court.
More than a century after their passage, the Civil Rights Acts of the Reconstruction Era continue to present difficult problems of statutory construction. Cf. Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Org., 441 U.S. 600 . In the case now before us, we consider the scope of 42 U.S.C. 1985 (3) (1976 ed., Supp. II), the surviving version of 2 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. 1
The respondent, John R. Novotny, began his career with the Great American Federal Savings and Loan Association (hereinafter Association) in Allegheny County, Pa., in 1950. By 1975, he was secretary of the Association, a member of its board of directors, and a loan officer. According to the allegations of the complaint in this case the Association "intentionally and deliberately embarked upon and pursued a course of conduct the effect of which was to deny to female employees [442 U.S. 366, 369] equal employment opportunity . . . ." When Novotny expressed support for the female employees at a meeting of the board of directors, his connection with the Association abruptly ended. He was not re-elected as secretary; he was not re-elected to the board; and he was fired. His support for the Association's female employees, he alleges, was the cause of the termination of his employment.
Novotny filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 2 After receiving a right-to-sue letter, 3 he brought this lawsuit against the Association and its directors in the District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He claimed damages under 42 U.S.C. 1985 (3) (1976 ed., Supp. II), contending that he had been injured as the result of a conspiracy to deprive him of equal protection of and equal privileges and immunities under the laws. 4 The District Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss. It held that 1985 (3) could not be invoked because the directors of a single corporation could not, as a matter of law and fact, engage in a conspiracy. 430 F. Supp. 227, 230. 5
Novotny appealed. After oral argument before a three-judge panel, the case was reargued before the en banc Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which unanimously reversed [442 U.S. 366, 370] the District Court's judgment. 584 F.2d 1235. The Court of Appeals ruled that Novotny had stated a cause of action under 1985 (3). It held that conspiracies motivated by an invidious animus against women fall within 1985 (3), and that Novotny, a male allegedly injured as a result of such a conspiracy, had standing to bring suit under that statutory provision. It ruled that Title VII could be the source of a right asserted in an action under 1985 (3), and that intracorporate conspiracies come within the intendment of the section. Finally, the court concluded that its construction of 1985 (3) did not present any serious constitutional problem. 6
We granted certiorari, 439 U.S. 1066 , to consider the applicability of 1985 (3) to the facts alleged in Novotny's complaint.
The legislative history of 2 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, of which 1985 (3) was originally a part, has been reviewed many times in this Court. 7 The section as first enacted [442 U.S. 366, 371] authorized both criminal and civil actions against those who have conspired to deprive others of federally guaranteed rights. Before the 19th century ended, however, the Court found the criminal provisions of the statute unconstitutional because they exceeded the scope of congressional power, United States v. Harris, 106 U.S. 629 ; Baldwin v. Franks, 120 U.S. 678 , and the provisions thus invalidated were later formally repealed by Congress. The civil action provided by the Act remained, but for many years was rarely, if ever, invoked.
The provisions of what is now 1985 (3) were not fully considered by this Court until 1951, in the case of Collins v. Hardyman, 341 U.S. 651 . 8 There the Court concluded that the section protected citizens only from injuries caused by conspiracies "under color of state law." 9 Twenty years later, in Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88 , the Court unanimously concluded that the Collins Court had accorded to the provisions of 1985 (3) too narrow a scope. 10 The fears concerning congressional power that had motivated the Court in [442 U.S. 366, 372] the Collins case had been dissolved by intervening cases. See Griffin v. Breckenridge, supra, at 96-97, 104-106. Therefore, the Court found that 1985 (3) did provide a cause of action for damages caused by purely private conspiracies.
The Court's opinion in Griffin discerned the following criteria for measuring whether a complaint states a cause of action under 1985 (3):
Under Title VII, cases of alleged employment discrimination are subject to a detailed administrative and judicial process designed to provide an opportunity for nonjudicial and [442 U.S. 366, 373] nonadversary resolution of claims. As the Court explained in Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36, 44 :
If a violation of Title VII could be asserted through 1985 (3), a complainant could avoid most if not all of these detailed [442 U.S. 366, 376] and specific provisions of the law. Section 1985 (3) expressly authorizes compensatory damages; punitive damages might well follow. The plaintiff or defendant might demand a jury trial. The short and precise time limitations of Title VII would be grossly altered. 20 Perhaps most importantly, the complainant could completely bypass the administrative process, which plays such a crucial role in the scheme established by Congress in Title VII.
The problem in this case is closely akin to that in Brown v. GSA, 425 U.S. 820 . There, we held that 717 of Title VII provides the exclusive remedy for employment discrimination claims of those federal employees that it covers. Our conclusion was based on the proposition that
This case thus differs markedly from the cases recently decided by this Court that have related the substantive provisions of last century's Civil Rights Acts to contemporary legislation conferring similar substantive rights. In those cases we have held that substantive rights conferred in the 19th century were not withdrawn, sub silentio, by the subsequent passage of the modern statutes. Thus, in Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 413 -417, we considered the effect of the fair housing provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 on the property rights guaranteed by the Civil Rights Act of 1866, now codified at 42 U.S.C. 1982. And in Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, 421 U.S. 454, 457 -461, we held that the passage of Title VII did not work an implied repeal of the substantive rights to contract conferred by the same 19th-century statute and now codified at 42 U.S.C. 1981. See also Sullivan v. Little Hunting Park, 396 U.S. 229, 237 -238; Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U.S. 160, 174 -175. 21
Somewhat similarly, in Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36 , the Court upheld an employee's invocation of two alternative remedies for alleged employment discrimination: [442 U.S. 366, 378] arbitration under a collective-bargaining agreement, and litigation under Title VII. As the Court pointed out:
Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is vacated, and the case is remanded to that court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
[ Footnote 2 ] 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.
[ Footnote 3 ] 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (f) (1).
[ Footnote 4 ] His complaint also alleged, as a second cause of action, that his discharge was in retaliation for his efforts on behalf of equal employment opportunity, and thus violated 704 (a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 257, as amended, 86 Stat. 109. Section 704 (a), as set forth in 42 U.S.C. 2000e-3 (a), reads in relevant part:
[ Footnote 5 ] As to the Title VII claim, the District Court held that Novotny was not a proper plaintiff under 704 (a).
[ Footnote 6 ] The Court of Appeals ruled that Novotny had also stated a valid cause of action under Title VII. It held that 704 (a) applies to retaliation for both formal and informal actions taken to advance the purposes of the Act. That holding is not now before this Court.
We note the relative narrowness of the specific issue before the Court. It is unnecessary for us to consider whether a plaintiff would have a cause of action under 1985 (3) where the defendant was not subject to suit under Title VII or a comparable statute. Cf. United States v. Johnson, 390 U.S. 563 . Nor do we think it necessary to consider whether 1985 (3) creates a remedy for statutory rights other than those fundamental rights derived from the Constitution. Cf. Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88 .
[ Footnote 7 ] A partial list of the opinions in this Court that have discussed the Act's legislative history includes Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Org., 441 U.S. 600, 608 -612 (opinion of the Court); id., at 650-658 (WHITE, J., concurring in judgment); id., at 627-640 (POWELL, J., concurring); Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 665 -689; District of Columbia v. Carter, 409 U.S. 418, 423 , 425-429; Griffin v. Breckenridge, supra, at 99-101; Adickes v. S. H. Kress Co., [442 U.S. 366, 371] 398 U.S. 144, 162 -166 (opinion of the Court); id., at 215-231 (BRENNAN, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part); Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 172 -185 (opinion of the Court); id., at 194-198 (Harlan, J., concurring in judgment); id., at 225-236 (Frankfurter, J., dissenting).
[ Footnote 8 ] At least two earlier cases in this Court involved causes of action based upon what is now 1985 (3). In Hague v. CIO, 307 U.S. 496 , the plaintiff had stated claims based on the predecessors of both 1985 (3) and 42 U.S.C. 1983. The opinions of Mr. Justice Roberts and Mr. Justice Stone both discussed the 1983 cause of action, but neither discussed the conspiracy claim. In Snowden v. Hughes, 321 U.S. 1 , the plaintiff had also stated claims under the predecessors of both sections. The Court held that no constitutional violation had been shown, and did not consider whether the statutes could have been utilized if such a showing had been made.
[ Footnote 10 ] Mr. Justice Harlan concurred, with one reservation. He found it unnecessary to rely, as the Court did in part, on the defendants' alleged interference with the right of interstate travel. 403 U.S., at 107 .
[ Footnote 11 ] For the purposes of this question, we assume but certainly do not decide that the directors of a single corporation can form a conspiracy within the meaning of 1985 (3).
[ Footnote 12 ] Title 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (b) provides for filing charges with the federal Commission. When a State or locality has a "State or local law prohibiting the unlawful employment practice alleged and establishing or authorizing a State or local authority to grant or seek relief from such practice or to institute criminal proceedings with respect thereto," filing a complaint with that authority is a predicate for assertion of the federal rights involved. 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (c). If a member of the EEOC files a charge alleging violations in such a State or locality, the federal Commission must notify the state or local authority of the charge before taking any action. 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (d). Cf. Love v. Pullman Co., 404 U.S. 522 .
[ Footnote 13 ] The statute requires that a complaint be filed with the federal agency within 180 days "after the alleged unlawful employment practice [442 U.S. 366, 374] occurred. . . ." If the complainant has filed a charge with a state or local agency, the time is extended to 300 days from the event, or 30 days from the end of state or local proceedings, whichever is sooner. 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (e). After a "right to sue" letter issues from the EEOC, the complainant is given another 90 days to bring a civil action in a federal district court. 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (f) (1). Cf. United Air Lines, Inc. v. Evans, 431 U.S. 553 .
[ Footnote 14 ] Within 10 days of the Commission's receipt of a complaint, it must notify the employer of the charge, including the date, place, and circumstances of the alleged violation. 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (b), (e). Only if the Commission has been unable to secure an acceptable conciliation agreement from the employer within 30 days of the filing of the charge may it bring a civil action against the employer. 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (f) (1). The complainant must await notice from the Commission of his right to bring a suit. This notice is provided if (1) the Commission dismisses his charge, (2) neither the Commission nor the Attorney General has filed a civil action in his case within 180 days of the filing of the charge, or (3) the Commission has not entered into a conciliation agreement to which he is a party. 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (f) (1). Cf. Occidental Life Ins. Co. v. EEOC, 432 U.S. 355 .
[ Footnote 15 ] 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (a), (b), (f) (1). See Occidental Life Ins. Co. v. EEOC, supra.
[ Footnote 16 ] Section 706 (g) of the Act, as amended, as set forth in 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (g), provides:
[ Footnote 17 ] See EEOC v. Detroit Edison Co., 515 F.2d 301, 308-310 (CA6 1975); Richerson v. Jones, 551 F.2d 918, 926-928 (CA3 1977); cases collected in id., at 926 n. 13.
[ Footnote 18 ] Title 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (k) provides:
Title 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (f) (1) provides that "[u]pon application by the complainant and in such circumstances as the court may deem just, the court may appoint an attorney for such complainant and may authorize the commencement of the action without the payment of fees, costs, or security."
[ Footnote 19 ] See Slack v. Havens, 522 F.2d 1091, 1094 (CA9 1975); EEOC v. Detroit Edison Co., supra, at 308; Johnson v. Georgia Highway Express, 417 F.2d 1122, 1125 (CA5 1969); Smith v. Hampton Training School for Nurses, 360 F.2d 577, 581 (CA4 1966) (en banc). See also Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, supra, at 441-445 (REHNQUIST, J., concurring).
[ Footnote 20 ] The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently applied a 6 year Pennsylvania statute of limitations to employment discrimination claims brought under 42 U.S.C. 1981. Davis v. United States Steel Supply, 581 F.2d 335, 337 (1978). See also Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, 421 U.S. 454, 462 -466.
[ Footnote 21 ] Another difference between those cases and this one is to be found in the legislative history of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. As the Court noted in Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, supra, and Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 , the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871 were explicitly discussed during the course of the legislative debates on both the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the 1972 amendments to the 1964 Act, and the view was consistently expressed that the earlier statutes would not be implicitly repealed. See Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, supra, at 457-459; Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., supra, at 413-417. Specific references were made to 1981 and 1983, but, significantly, no notice appears to have been taken of 1985. See case below, 584 F.2d 1235, 1252 n.86.
MR. JUSTICE POWELL, concurring.
I agree with the opinion of the Court as far as it goes, and I join it. I also agree with the views expressed by MR. JUSTICE STEVENS' concurring opinion. I write separately because [442 U.S. 366, 379] it seems to me that the Court's decision affords unnecessarily limited guidance to courts in the federal system.
The Court's specific holding is that 42 U.S.C. 1985 (3) (1976 ed., Supp. II) may not be invoked to redress violations of Title VII. The broader issue argued to us in this case was whether this Civil War Era remedial statute, providing no substantive rights itself, was intended to provide a remedy generally for the violation of subsequently created statutory rights. For essentially the reasons suggested by MR. JUSTICE STEVENS, I would hold that 1985 (3) should not be so construed, and that its reach is limited to conspiracies to violate those fundamental rights derived from the Constitution.
The Court's unanimous decision in Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88 (1971), is to this effect. The alleged conspiracy there was an attempt by white citizens, resorting to force and violence, to deprive Negro citizens of the right to use interstate highways. In sustaining a cause of action under 1985 (3), the Court found that the alleged conspiracy - if implemented - would violate the constitutional "right of interstate travel" as well as the right of Negro citizens to be free from "invidiously discriminatory" action. The Court declared:
The rationale of Griffin accords with the purpose, history, and common understanding of this Civil War Era statute. Rather than leave federal courts in any doubt as to the scope of actions under 1985 (3), I would explicitly reaffirm the constitutional basis of Griffin. *
[ Footnote * ] The doubts which will remain after the Court's decision are far from insubstantial. At least one federal court, for example, has held that although Title VII rights may not be asserted through 1985 (3), claims based on 3 of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 77 Stat. 56, 29 U.S.C. 206 (d), may be raised in a 1985 (3) suit. Hodgin v. Jefferson, 447 F. Supp. 804, 808 (Md. 1978). See also Murphy v. Operating Engineers, Local 18, 99 LRRM 2074, 2124-2126 (ND Ohio 1978) (conspiracy to violate Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act cognizable under 1985 (3)); Local No. 1, ACA v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 419 F. Supp. 263, 276 (ED Pa. 1976) (same). I would take advantage of the present opportunity to make clear that this Civil War Era statute was intended to provide a remedy only for conspiracies to violate fundamental rights derived from the Constitution.
MR. JUSTICE STEVENS, concurring.
While I join the Court's opinion, including its reliance on Brown v. GSA, 425 U.S. 820 , and while I agree with much of MR. JUSTICE POWELL'S concurrence, I add a few words of my own to explain why I would reach the same conclusion even if the Court had agreed with my dissenting views in Brown.
Sections 1983 and 1985 (3) of Title 42 of the United States Code (1976 ed., and Supp. II) are the surviving direct descendants of 1 and 2 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. 17 Stat. 13. Neither of these sections created any substantive rights. Earlier this Term we squarely held that 1983 [442 U.S. 366, 382] merely provides a remedy for certain violations of certain federal rights, 1 and today the Court unequivocally holds that 1985 (3) "provides no substantive rights itself; it merely provides a remedy for violation of the rights it designates." Ante, at 372. 2
Somewhat different language was used by Congress in describing the substantive rights encompassed within the two provisions: 1 of the 1871 Act, the predecessor to 1983, referred to "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution of the United States," whereas 2, the predecessor to 1985 (3), referred to "equal protection of the laws" and "equal privileges and immunities under the laws." 3 The [442 U.S. 366, 383] import of the language, however, as well as the relevant legislative history, suggests that the Congress which enacted both provisions was concerned with providing federal remedies for deprivations of rights protected by the Constitution and, in particular, the newly ratified Fourteenth Amendment. If a violation was effected "under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any State," 1983 afforded redress; if a violation was caused by private persons who "conspire or go in disguise on the highway," 1985 (3) afforded redress. Thus, the former authorized a remedy for state action depriving an individual of his constitutional rights, the latter for private action.
Some privileges and immunities of citizenship, such as the right to engage in interstate travel and the right to be free of the badges of slavery, are protected by the Constitution against interference by private action, as well as impairment by state action. Private conspiracies to deprive individuals of these rights are, as this Court held in Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88 , actionable under 1985 (3) without regard to any state involvement. 4 [442 U.S. 366, 384]
Other privileges and immunities of citizenship such as the right to due process of law and the right to the equal protection of the laws are protected by the Constitution only against state action. Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 13 . If a state agency arbitrarily refuses to serve a class of persons - Chinese-Americans, for example, see Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 - it violates the Fourteenth Amendment. Or if private persons take conspiratorial action that prevents or hinders the constituted authorities of any State from giving or securing equal treatment, the private persons would cause those authorities to violate the Fourteenth Amendment; the private persons would then have violated 1985 (3). 5
If, however, private persons engage in purely private acts of discrimination - for example, if they discriminate against women or against lawyers with a criminal practice, see Dombrowski v. Dowling, 459 F.2d 190, 194-196 - they do not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 6 The rights secured by the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment are rights to protection against unequal or unfair treatment by the State, not by private parties. Thus, while 1985 (3) does not require that a defendant act under color of state law, there still [442 U.S. 366, 385] can be no claim for relief based on a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment if there has been no involvement by the State. The requirement of state action, in this context, is no more than a requirement that there be a constitutional violation.
Here, there is no claim of such a violation. Private discrimination on the basis of sex is not prohibited by the Constitution. The right to be free of sex discrimination by other private parties is a statutory right that was created almost a century after 1985 (3) was enacted. Because I do not believe that statute was intended to provide a remedy for the violation of statutory rights - let alone rights created by statutes that had not yet been enacted - I agree with the Court's conclusion that it does not provide respondent with redress for injuries caused by private conspiracies to discriminate on the basis of sex. 7
With this additional explanation of my views, I join the Court's opinion.
[ Footnote 1 ] "Standing alone, 1983 clearly provides no protection for civil rights since, as we have just concluded, 1983 does not provide any substantive rights at all." Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Org., 441 U.S. 600, 618 .
In that opinion we quoted Senator Edmunds' comment in the 1871 debate:
[ Footnote 2 ] And ante, at 376, the Court States:
[ Footnote 3 ] In its present form, 42 U.S.C. 1983 refers to deprivations of "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws." The "and laws" language was not included in the original statute enacted in 1871, however; it was added in 1874 when Congress enacted the Revised Statutes of the United States. Rev. Stat. 1979. No similar change was ever made in 2 of the 1871 Act, the predecessor to 1985 (3). As originally introduced, that section did provide for criminal and civil actions for deprivations of "rights, privileges, or immunities . . . under the Constitution and laws of the United States." Cong. Globe, 42d Cong., 1st Sess., App. 68 (1871) (emphasis added). "The enormous sweep of the [442 U.S. 366, 383] original language led to pressures for amendment," Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88, 100 , and the present language was substituted. The criminal provisions of 2 were later declared unconstitutional, United States v. Harris, 106 U.S. 629 , and repealed by Congress. 35 Stat. 1088, 1154. This criminal provision should be distinguished from 18 U.S.C. 241, relied upon by MR. JUSTICE WHITE, see post, at 389 n.5. Section 241 has, since its enactment in 1870, referred explicitly to "the Constitution or laws of the United States." See 16 Stat. 141 (emphasis added).
[ Footnote 4 ] In Griffin, supra, at 105, the Court quoted the statement from the Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3, 20 , that the Thirteenth Amendment "is not a mere prohibition of State laws establishing or upholding slavery, but an absolute declaration that slavery or involuntary servitude shall not exist in any part of the United States." The opinion added:
[ Footnote 5 ] I have paraphrased the statutory language "preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of any State or Territory from giving or securing to all persons within such State or Territory the equal protection of the laws" because that language sheds important light on the meaning of the entire section.
[ Footnote 7 ] Unlike the problem presented by Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U.S. 160 , where I concluded that it was my duty to follow decisions of this Court which in my judgment had erroneously construed the actual intent of Congress, this is a case in which I am free to respect my understanding of congressional intent. To do so does not require me to advocate overruling any prior decisions of this court in favor of a position which would appear to be "a significant step backwards . . . clearly contrary to my understanding of the mores of today." Id., at 191-192 (STEVENS, J., concurring). And with respect to the issue which is presented in this case, there is no doubt in my mind that the construction of the statute adopted by the Court of Appeals "would have amazed the legislators who voted for it." Id., at 89.
MR. JUSTICE WHITE, with whom MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN and MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL join, dissenting.
The Court today releases employers acting with invidious discriminatory animus in concert with others from liability under 42 U.S.C. 1985 (3) (1976 ed., Supp. II) for the injuries [442 U.S. 366, 386] they inflict. Because for both respondent in this case and as a general matter 1985 (3) is an entirely consistent supplement to Title VII, I dissent.
Respondent sought compensatory damages under 1985 (3) 1 on the ground that he had been injured by acts done in furtherance of a conspiracy for the purpose of depriving others of "equal privileges and immunities" guaranteed in 703 (a) of Title VII, 2 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of, inter alia, sex. Additionally, and separately, respondent sought relief under Title VII itself on the ground that he had been deprived of his right under 704 (a) of Title VII 3 not to be discriminated against because he assisted [442 U.S. 366, 387] others in asserting their Title VII rights. Petitioners have not sought review of the court of Appeals' holding that respondent had stated a cause of action under 704 (a), and, accordingly, the Court does not address that issue. However, the majority holds that the claim under 1985 (3) must be dismissed because "deprivation of a right created by Title VII cannot be the basis for a cause of action under 1985 (3)," ante, at 378.
Unfortunately, the majority does not explain whether the "right created by Title VII" to which it refers is the right guaranteed to women employees under 703 (a) or the right guaranteed to respondent under 704 (a). Although in stating its view of the issue before the Court, the majority intimates that it is relying on the fact that respondent has a claim directly under 704 (a), 4 the reasoning of the majority opinion in no way indicates why the existence of a 704 (a) claim should prevent respondent from seeking to vindicate under 1985 (3) the entirely separate right provided by 703 (a).
Clearly, respondent's right under 704 (a) - to be free from retaliation for efforts to aid others asserting Title VII rights - is distinct from the Title VII right implicated in his claim under 1985 (3), which is the right of women employees not to be discriminated against on the basis of their sex. Moreover, [442 U.S. 366, 388] that respondent in this case is in a position to assert claims under both 1985 (3) and 704 (a) is due solely to the peculiar facts of this case, rather than to any necessary relationship between the two provisions. First, it is of course possible that a person could be injured in the course of a conspiracy to deny 703 (a) rights - as respondent claims under his 1985 (3) cause of action - by some means other than retaliatory discrimination prohibited under 704 (a). Second, 704 (a) itself protects only employees and applicants for employment; others, such as customers or suppliers, retaliated against in the course of a conspiracy to violate 703 (a) are not expressly protected under any provision of Title VII. Indeed, if respondent in this case had been only a director, rather than both a director and an employee, of the Great American Federal Savings and Loan Association, he apparently would not be able to assert a claim under 704 (a).
Because the existence of a 704 (a) claim is due entirely to the peculiar facts of this case, I interpret the majority's broad holding that "deprivation of a right created by Title VII cannot be the basis for a cause of action under 1985 (3)" to preclude respondent from suing under 1985 (3) not because he coincidentally has a 704 (a) claim, but because the purpose of the conspiracy allegedly resulting in injury to him was to deny 703 (a) rights.
The pervasive and essential flaw in the majority's approach to reconciliation of 1985 (3) and Title VII proceeds from its characterization of the former statute as solely a "remedial" provision. It is true that the words "equal privileges and immunities under the laws" in 1985 (3) refer to substantive rights created or guaranteed by other federal law, be it the Constitution or federal statutes other than 1985 (3); 5 and [442 U.S. 366, 389] in this case it is a conspiracy to deny a substantive right created in 703 (a) of Title VII 6 that is part of the basis for respondent's suit under 1985 (3). 7 However, 1985 (3), [442 U.S. 366, 390] unlike a remedial statute such as 42 U.S.C. 1983, 8 does not merely provide a cause of action for persons deprived of rights elsewhere guaranteed. Because 1985 (3) provides a remedy for any person injured as a result of deprivation of a substantive federal right, it must be seen as itself creating rights in persons other than those to whom the underlying federal right extends.
In this case, for instance, respondent is seeking to redress an injury inflicted upon him, which injury is distinct and separate from the injury inflicted upon the female employees whose 703 (a) rights were allegedly denied. The damages available to a person such as respondent suing under 1985 (3) are not dependent upon the amount of injury caused persons deprived of "equal privileges and immunities under the laws," but upon the gravity of the separate injury inflicted upon the person suing. Cf. Sullivan v. Little Hunting Park, 396 U.S. 229, 254 -255 (1969) (Harlan, J., dissenting).
In this circumstance - where the 1985 (3) plaintiff is seeking redress for injury caused as a result of the denial of other persons' Title VII rights - it makes no sense to hold that the remedies provided in Title VII are exclusive, for such a 1985 (3) plaintiff has no Title VII remedy. 9 It thus can hardly be asserted that allowing this 1985 (3) plaintiff to seek redress of his injury would allow such individual to "completely by-pass" the administrative and other "detailed and specific" enforcement mechanisms provided in Title VII, ante, at 375-376.
In enacting 1985 (3), Congress specifically contemplated that persons injured by private conspiracies to deny the federal [442 U.S. 366, 391] rights of others could redress their injuries, quite apart from any redress by those who are the object of the conspiracy. Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88, 103 (1971). Nothing in the Court's opinion suggests any warrant for refusal to recognize this cause of action simply because Title VII rights are involved.
I am also convinced that persons whose own Title VII rights have allegedly been violated retain the separate right to seek redress under 1985 (3). In seeking to accommodate the civil rights statutes enacted in the decade after the Civil War and the civil rights statutes of the recent era, the Court has recognized that the later statutes cannot be said to have impliedly repealed the earlier unless there is an irreconcilable conflict between them. Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U.S. 160, 173 n. 10 (1976). See Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, 421 U.S. 454, 457 -461 (1975); Sullivan v. Little Hunting Park, supra, at 237-238. Cf. United States v. Johnson, 390 U.S. 563 (1968). Of course, the mere fact of overlap in modes of redressing discrimination does not constitute such irreconcilable conflict. See, e. g., Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36 (1974); Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968), and cases cited above. Indeed, we have embraced the notion of an implied repeal only when "[i]t would require the suspension of disbelief to ascribe to Congress the design" to allow vindication under a Reconstruction statute of a right also subject to redress under one of the modern Civil Rights Acts. Brown v. GSA, 425 U.S. 820, 833 (1976).
It is clear that such overlap as may exist between Title VII and 1985 (3) occurs only because the latter is directed at a discrete and particularly disfavored form of discrimination, and examination of 1985 (3) shows that it constitutes a compatible and important supplement to the more general prohibition and remedy provided in Title VII. Thus, while it may be that in many cases persons seeking redress under [442 U.S. 366, 392] 1985 (3) also have a claim directly under Title VII, 10 this is not sufficient reason to deprive those persons of the right to sue for the compensatory and punitive damages to which they are entitled under the post-Civil War statute. 11
As previously indicated, the majority's willingness to infer a silent repeal of 1985 (3) is based on its view that the provision only gives a remedy to redress deprivations prohibited by other federal law. But this narrow view of 1985 (3) is incorrect even as to 1985 (3) plaintiffs themselves denied Title VII rights. Because only conspiracies to deprive persons of federal rights are subject to redress under 1985 (3), that statute, like 18 U.S.C. 241, 12 is itself a prohibition separate and apart from the prohibitions stated in the underlying provisions of federal law. Moreover, only those deprivations imbued with "invidiously discriminatory motivation" amounting to "class-based . . . animus," Griffin v. Breckenridge, supra, at 102, are encompassed by 1985 (3). Viewed in this manner, the right guaranteed by 1985 (3) is the right not to be subjected to an invidious conspiracy to deny other federal rights. This discrete category of deprivations to which 1985 (3) is directed stands in sharp contrast to the broad prohibition on discrimination provided in 703 (a) of Title VII, see n. 2, supra; Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971). If, as the majority suggests, it would not recognize an implied repeal of an earlier statute granting a separate but overlapping right, then it should not do so in this case; for respondent has alleged a violation of 703 (a) in a manner independently prohibited by 1985 (3), and under the [442 U.S. 366, 393] majority's approach should be allowed to redress both deprivations.
Even to the extent that 1985 (3) is properly characterized as a "remedial" statute, there is no reason for holding it inapplicable to redress deprivations of Title VII rights. The majority's apparent assumption that this Court has greater freedom in inferring repeal of remedial statutes than it does of statutes guaranteeing substantive rights has no support in our previous cases. The one instance in which we held Title VII's remedies to be exclusive, Brown v. GSA, supra, was required because of the unmistakable legislative intent that alternative modes of redress were not to be available for a grievance relating to discrimination in federal employment. 13 Nor has the majority's right/remedy distinction been enunciated in any of our cases recognizing that Congress did not intend Title VII to pre-empt all "alternative means to redress individual grievances," Runyon v. McCrary, supra, at 174 n. 11, quoting 118 Cong. Rec. 3371 (1972) (Sen. Williams). 14 [442 U.S. 366, 394] With respect to remedies as well as with respect to substantive rights, an implied repeal of post-Civil War civil rights legislation occurs only when the legislative scheme of the new statute is incompatible with the old.
In this case, Title VII and the remedial aspect of 1985 (3) are entirely consistent, the latter clearly supplementing the former. Title VII operates both to create new federal rights and to provide a general remedy for the denial thereof, while 1985 (3) operates to provide a separate remedy when the manner of denial is especially invidious and threatening. 15 The Reconstruction Congress that enacted 1985 (3) believed that an especial danger was posed by persons acting with invidious animus and acting in concert - thereby compounding their power and resources 16 - to deny federal rights. Because such private conspiratorial action, the paradigm of which was the activity of the Ku Klux Klan, constituted a serious threat to civil rights and civil order, 17 it was deemed necessary to "giv[e] a civil action to anybody who shall be injured by [such] conspiracy." 18 Thus, though it may be that those [442 U.S. 366, 395] who conspire with invidious motivation to violate 703 (a) may in many cases also be reached under Title VII itself, there is no basis for inferring a silent repeal 19 of the legislative judgment that the distinct nature of the deprivation to which 1985 (3) is directed warrants separate and more complete relief, and, accordingly, the Court has an obligation to honor the terms of that statute. 20 [442 U.S. 366, 396]
Because respondent exhausted his administrative remedies under Title VII, see ante, at 369, there is no need in this case to reach the question whether persons whose Title VII rights have been violated may bring suit directly in federal court alleging an invidious conspiracy to deny those Title VII rights. I note, however, that the majority's desire not to undercut the administrative enforcement scheme, including the encouragement of voluntary conciliation, provided by Title VII would be completely fulfilled by insisting that 1985 (3) plaintiffs exhaust whatever Title VII remedies they may have. The concerns expressed in the majority opinion do not provide a basis for precluding redress altogether under 1985 (3).
[ Footnote 1 ] Title 42 U.S.C. 1985 (3) (1976 ed., Supp. II) provides in relevant part that when persons who "conspire . . . for the purpose of depriving . . . any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws; . . . do, or cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the object of such conspiracy, whereby another is injured in his person or property, . . . the party so injured or deprived may have an action for the recovery of damages occasioned by such injury . . ., against any one or more of the conspirators."
[ Footnote 2 ] 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2 (a). This statute provides:
[ Footnote 3 ] 42 U.S.C. 2000e-3 (a). This statute provides:
[ Footnote 4 ] See ante, at 372 ("The primary question in the present case, therefore, is whether a person injured by a conspiracy to violate 704 (a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is deprived of `the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws' within the meaning of 1985 (3)"). See also ante, at 377 ("The only question here, therefore, is whether [the right Novotny claims under 704 (a)] may be asserted within the remedial framework of 1985 (3)"). (Emphasis deleted.)
[ Footnote 5 ] The majority opinion does not reach the issue whether 1985 (3) encompasses federal statutory rights other than those proceeding in "fundamental" fashion from the Constitution itself. I am not certain in what [442 U.S. 366, 389] manner the Court conceives of sex discrimination by private parties to proceed from explicit constitutional guarantees. In any event, I need not pursue this issue because I think it clear that 1985 (3) encompasses all rights guaranteed in federal statutes as well as rights guaranteed directly by the Constitution. As originally introduced, 2 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 17 Stat. 13, encompassed "rights, privileges, or immunities . . . under the Constitution and laws of the United States." Cong. Globe, 42d Cong., 1st Sess., App. 68 (1871). The substitution of the terms "the equal protection of the laws" and "equal privileges and immunities under the laws," see n. 1, supra, did not limit the scope of the rights protected but added a requirement of certain "class-based, invidiously discriminatory animus behind the conspirators' action," Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88, 102 (1971). We have repeatedly held that 18 U.S.C. 241 (derived from 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1870, 16 Stat. 141), which is the "closest remaining criminal analogue to 1985 (3)," Griffin v. Breckenridge, supra, at 98, encompasses all federal statutory rights. See United States v. Waddell, 112 U.S. 76 (1884); In re Quarles, 158 U.S. 532 (1895); United States v. Mosley, 238 U.S. 383, 387 -388 (1915); United States v. Price, 383 U.S. 787, 800 (1966); United States v. Johnson, 390 U.S. 563, 565 -566 (1968). Similarly, we have stated that 42 U.S.C. 1983, derived from 1 of the 1871 Civil Rights Act, encompasses federal statutory as well as constitutional rights. Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 675 (1974); Rosado v. Wyman, 397 U.S. 397 (1970). See generally Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Organization, 441 U.S. 600, 646 (1979) (WHITE, J., concurring in judgment).
[ Footnote 6 ] Although Griffin v. Breckenridge, supra, at 102 n. 9, did not reach the issue whether discrimination on a basis other than race may be vindicated under 1985 (3), the Court correctly assumes that the answer to this question is "Yes." The statute broadly refers to all privileges and immunities, without any limitation as to the class of persons to whom these rights may be granted. It is clear that sex discrimination may be sufficiently invidious to come within the prohibition of 1985 (3), see infra, at 392. See generally Califano v. Goldfarb, 430 U.S. 199 (1977); Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971); Mathews v. Lucas, 427 U.S. 495, 506 (1976).
[ Footnote 7 ] This is analogous to United States v. Johnson, supra, where the basis for a prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 241 was a conspiracy to deny the substantive right to equality in public accommodations guaranteed under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000a.
[ Footnote 8 ] See Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Organization, 441 U.S., at 602 ; id., at 623 (POWELL, J., concurring); id., at 646 (WHITE, J., concurring in judgment); id., at 672 (STEWART, J., dissenting).
[ Footnote 9 ] Section 706 (b) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (b), contemplates suit only "on or behalf of . . . person[s] . . . aggrieved" under 703 or 704.
[ Footnote 10 ] It is, of course, theoretically possible that an individual could be injured by a conspiracy to violate his Title VII rights even though that conspiracy was never brought to fruition and thus there was no violation of Title VII itself.
[ Footnote 11 ] Title VII authorizes only equitable relief, including backpay for a period not to exceed two years. See 706 (g), 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5 (g).
[ Footnote 12 ] See nn. 5, 7, supra.
[ Footnote 13 ] The Court asserts, ante, at 378, that its holding is required for "the same basic reasons that underlay the Court's decision in Brown v. GSA," as reinforced by the consideration that 1985 (3) is assertedly purely remedial. But the majority opinion utterly fails to explain in what way the basis for the decision in Brown - clear congressional intent - is applicable in this case. Brown concerned the peculiar legislative context in which the extension of Title VII to federal employment was enacted, stressing that Congress was under the impression that there was at that time (1972) no other effective judicial remedy for federal discriminatory action. By contrast, this case concerns private discrimination which, of course, has been encompassed by Title VII since the original enactment of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Brown expressly reaffirmed the conclusion of our previous cases that with respect to private employment, "the explicit legislative history of the 1964 Act . . . `manifests a congressional intent to allow an individual to pursue independently his rights under both Title VII and other applicable state and federal statutes,'" Brown v. GSA, 425 U.S., at 833 , quoting Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, 421 U.S. 454, 459 (1975); Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36, 48 (1974).
[ Footnote 15 ] Because 1985 (3) refers to all federal rights, it is irrelevant that the particular right sought to be vindicated thereunder was not in existence at the time the cause of action was enacted. Cf. Hagans v. Lavine, 415 U.S. 528 (1974); Rosado v. Wyman, 397 U.S. 397 (1970) (cause of action under 1983 to vindicate right under subsequently enacted statute); United States v. Johnson, 390 U.S. 563 (1968) (prosecution under 18 U.S.C. 241 for violation of subsequently enacted statute); see also United States v. Waddell, 112 U.S. 76 (1884).
[ Footnote 16 ] Cf. Callanan v. United States, 364 U.S. 587, 593 -594 (1961); Krulewitch v. United States, 336 U.S. 440, 448 -449 (1949) (Jackson, J., concurring); Pinkerton v. United States, 328 U.S. 640, 654 (1946).
[ Footnote 18 ] Cong. Globe, 42d Cong., 1st Sess., 568 (1871) (Sen. Edmunds). The passage from which this remark is excerpted is also instructive:
[ Footnote 19 ] The majority recognizes that Congress has explicitly noted that Title VII does not pre-empt redress of grievances under 42 U.S.C. 1981 and 42 U.S.C. 1983, ante, at 377 n. 21. See H. R. Rep. No. 92-238, p. 19 (June 2, 1971); S. Rep. No. 92-415, p. 24 (Oct. 28, 1971). This Court did not resurrect 1985 (3), Griffin v. Breckenridge, supra (June 7, 1971), from its interment under Collins v. Hardyman, 341 U.S. 651 (1951), until one week after the House Report was filed; neither Report mentions 1985 (3), nor does the Senate Report mention Griffin.
[ Footnote 20 ] Petitioners argue that neither the Thirteenth Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment, nor the Commerce Clause grants Congress authority to reach private conspiracies to deny Title VII rights such as are involved in this case. But petitioners do not dispute that the Commerce Clause is the source of authority for the enactment of Title VII, and Congress needs no additional grant of authority to prohibit, and provide a remedy for, invidious conspiracies to deny such rights. [442 U.S. 366, 397]