MARCUS, Circuit Judge:
This is the paradigmatic "hard" case, and we have labored for many months to reach the right result. On appeal, Defendant, Joe's Stone Crab, Inc. ("Joe's"), challenges the district court's entry of judgment in favor of Plaintiff, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the "EEOC"), on its gender-based disparate impact claims under Title VII. Joe's is a landmark Miami Beach seafood restaurant which from 1986 to 1990 hired 108 male food servers and zero female food servers. After the EEOC filed its discrimination charge in June 1991, Joe's hired 88 food servers from 1991 to 1995, nineteen, or roughly 21.7%, of whom were female. The district court concluded that while Joe's was not liable for intentional discrimination, it was liable for disparate impact discrimination based on these statistical disparities. After thorough review, we vacate the district court judgment, and remand for reconsideration of the EEOC's
In our view, the facts of this case render a disparate impact finding inappropriate. A disparate impact claim requires the identification of a specific, facially-neutral, employment practice causally responsible for an identified statistical disparity. On this record, the district court has identified no facially-neutral practice responsible for the gender disparity in Joe's food server population and we can find none. However, some of the district court's subsidiary findings suggest that there may have been facially-discriminatory practices of Joe's that were responsible for the identified hiring disparity, although the district court expressly rejected the EEOC's intentional discrimination claim in summary fashion. Several powerful prudential considerations, including the fact that the record is replete with conflicting witness testimony permitting more than one resolution of this claim, and the fact that some of the district court's subsidiary factual findings are in apparent conflict with its conclusion that Joe's was not liable for intentional discrimination, persuade us that the wisest course is a remand to the district court so that it may consider further its factual findings and conclusions of law in light of this opinion.
The facts of this case are reasonably straightforward and are fully outlined by the district court in EEOC v. Joe's Stone Crab, Inc., 969 F.Supp. 727 (S.D.Fla.1997). Joe's Stone Crab, Inc. is a fourth-generation, family-owned seafood restaurant and Miami Beach landmark. During the stone crab season, which lasts from October to May, the restaurant is extremely busy— serving up to 1450 patrons each weeknight and up to 1800 patrons each weekend night. Today, the restaurant employs between 230 and 260 employees; of those, approximately 70 are food servers. Throughout its history, Joe's has experienced extremely low food server turnover—a result of Joe's family ethos, generous salary and benefits package, and its seven-month employment season. From 1950 onward, however, the food servers have been almost exclusively male.
On June 25, 1991, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed a discrimination charge, under sections 706 and 707 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et. seq., alleging that Joe's discriminated on the basis of sex in the hiring and recruiting of food servers. On April 17, 1992, the EEOC issued its Decision, finding a pattern and practice of intentional sex discrimination in Joe's hiring and recruiting practices. Specifically, the EEOC determined that a word-of-mouth recruiting system and Joe's reputation for hiring only male food servers resulted in almost no women actually applying for food server positions at Joe's. The EEOC also found that Joe's subjective hiring practices were responsible for the gross statistical disparity between the percentage of female food servers in the Miami Beach community and the percentage of female food servers working at Joe's. As required by Title VII, see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(b), the EEOC and Joe's attempted to conciliate the Decision's findings but were unsuccessful.
On June 8, 1993, the EEOC filed a complaint in the Southern District of Florida alleging that Joe's violated Title VII through both intentional disparate treatment discrimination as well as unintentional disparate impact discrimination. The gravamen of the complaint centered around the EEOC's findings with respect to Joe's hiring and recruiting practices for food servers. The EEOC sought permanent injunctive relief, back pay, and prejudgment interest for qualified claimants.
To hire new food servers, Joe's conducts a "roll call" every year on the second Tuesday in October. Although Joe's rarely advertises, significantly, the district court found that the roll call is "widely known throughout the local food server community," and typically attracts over 100 applicants for only a limited number of slots. Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 733. At a typical roll call, each applicant completes a written application and an individual interview. Selected applicants then enter a three-day training program where they shadow experienced servers. Upon successful completion of the program, they then become permanent hires. See id.
Until the EEOC's charge, roll call interviews and hiring selections were handled exclusively by the daytime maitre d' with occasional interview assistance from other staff members.
In addition to its description of Joe's hiring process, the district court also made several subsidiary findings relating to the historical operation of the roll call system. The district court observed that while "women have predominated as owner/managers," "most of Joe's female employees have worked in positions traditionally viewed as `women's jobs,' e.g., as cashiers or laundry workers. Food servers generally have been male." Id. at 731. Although Joe's hired female food servers during World War II, most of these positions "reverted to men at the conclusion of the war." Id. Further, the district court found that, "[f]rom 1950 on, the food serving staff has been almost exclusively male. Indeed, one striking exception proves the rule. Dotty Malone worked as a food server at Joe's for seventeen years, and for most of this time she was the lone female on a serving staff that ranged between twenty-four and thirty-two." Id.
In explaining this historical dearth of female food servers, the district court found that Joe's maintained an "Old World" European tradition, in which the highest level of food service is performed
Id. at 731. As evidence for this finding, the district court cited three pieces of witness testimony. First, the district court pointed to the testimony of Grace Weiss, Joe's owner, who stated, "I cannot explain the predominance of male servers, but perhaps it has to do with the very heavy trays to be carried, the ambience of the restaurant, and the extremely low turnover in servers." Id. at 731-32 (emphasis added by the district court). Second, the district court highlighted the testimony of Roy Garrett, a longtime maitre d' of Joe's with hiring authority, who explained that Joe's had a "tradition" that food server positions were "a male server type of job":
Id. at 732 (emphasis added).
Id. The district court added that "Joe's [had] sought to emulate Old World traditions by creating an ambience in which tuxedo-clad men served its distinctive menu." Id.
With this historical background in place, the district court then focused on Joe's female hiring statistics for the relevant pre- and post-charge periods. For the pre-charge period of 1986-1990, the number of female food server applicants at Joe's annual hiring roll calls was minuscule. While there is little available evidence as to the actual numbers of female applicants at these roll calls (because Joe's
Season Women applicants Women hired1991-92 15.1% 20.0% 1992-93 21.9% 22.7% 1993-94 23.0% 10.5% 1994-95 26.8% 35.3% Oct.—Dec.1995 23.3% 20.0% _________________________________________________ Average 22.02% 21.7%
Id. at 734.
However, in making its findings, the district court found this actual applicant flow data "unreliable because it is skewed." Id. at 734. Relying on hearsay trial testimony from local female food servers, the district court found that Joe's public reputation for not hiring women encouraged women to self-select out of the hiring process— thereby skewing the actual applicant flow.
Id. at 736 (internal citations omitted). Although the district court noted that female food server applications to Joe's dramatically increased as a result of publicity about the EEOC charge, it still found Joe's post-charge applicant pool data (depicting a female applicant pool of 22%) unreliable after comparing it with hiring rates, between 30% and 40% female, for other area seafood restaurants.
Having found the actual applicant pool data wholly unreliable, the district court discarded it and then set about selecting alternative non-applicant labor market data. The EEOC's expert witness, a labor economist, suggested a qualified female labor pool of 44.1% based on 1990 census data for female food servers living and/or working in the Miami Beach area (a labor pool which included cocktail and buffet servers). See id. at 734-35. Not surprisingly, the district court rejected this figure in part because there was no demonstration that this female labor pool necessarily was qualified to work at Joe's. Instead, the district court "refined" the relevant labor pool to include all female servers who lived or worked on Miami Beach and earned between $25,000 and $50,000—thereby "using past earning capacity as a proxy for experience, and by extension, experience as a proxy for qualification." Id. at 735. Solely based on this alternative methodology, the district court was able to find "that at all relevant times, 31.9% of the available labor pool has been female." Id.
With these findings in place, the district court then drew two pertinent conclusions of law. First, the district court summarily rejected the EEOC's disparate treatment claims without analysis, stating only that "the court finds that the EEOC has not met its burden of proof under disparate treatment analysis." Id. at 735. The only other mention of the disparate treatment claims is found in the introduction of the district court's opinion. There, the district court unambiguously states: "[b]ased on an evaluation of the evidence, the court finds that the EEOC has not proven intentional discrimination." Id. at 730. Second, however, the district court determined that Joe's was liable for disparate impact discrimination.
The first and central issue in this appeal is whether the district court erred in finding that the EEOC had established disparate impact discrimination.
That said, we have struggled on appeal to find the proper resolution of this case. As we explain in detail, we believe that the district court's factual findings simply do not support a legal conclusion that Joe's is liable for disparate impact discrimination. Based on the district court's findings, no specific facially-neutral employment practice of Joe's can be causally connected to the statistical disparity between the percentage of women in the qualified labor pool and the percentage of women hired as food servers by Joe's.
A. Disparate Impact
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer may be found liable for unlawful sex discrimination under any one of three discrete theories: pattern and practice discrimination, disparate treatment discrimination, or disparate impact discrimination. Both pattern and practice and disparate treatment claims require proof of discriminatory intent;
In contrast, disparate impact theory prohibits neutral employment practices which, while non-discriminatory on their face, visit an adverse, disproportionate impact on a statutorily-protected group. See Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 431, 91 S.Ct. 849, 853, 28 L.Ed.2d 158 (1971) (explaining that Title VII "proscribes not only overt discrimination but also practices that are fair in form, but discriminatory in operation"); see also In re Employment, 198 F.3d at 1311; Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1117 (11th Cir.1993). The doctrine seeks the removal of employment obstacles, not required by business necessity, which create "`built-in headwinds'" and freeze out protected groups from job opportunities and advancement. Griffin v. Carlin, 755 F.2d 1516, 1524 (11th Cir.1985) (quoting Griggs, 401 U.S. at 431-32, 91 S.Ct. 849). As the district court correctly identified, "[t]he premise of disparate impact theory is that some employment practices, adopted without a deliberately discriminatory motive, may be the functional equivalent of intentional discrimination." Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 735. In essence, disparate impact theory is a doctrinal surrogate for eliminating unprovable acts of intentional discrimination hidden innocuously behind facially-neutral policies or practices.
The disparate impact framework under Title VII by now is well-settled. "Since Griggs, Congress has codified the appropriate burdens of proof in a disparate impact case in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(k) (1994), and a settled jurisprudence has arisen to implement the methodology." In re Employment, 198 F.3d at 1311. As correctly identified by the district court, a plaintiff in a sex discrimination suit must establish three elements: first, that there is a significant statistical disparity between the proportion of women in the available labor pool and the proportion of women hired; second, that there is a specific, facially-neutral, employment practice which is the alleged cause of the disparity; and finally, and most critically in this case, that a causal nexus exists between the specific employment practice identified and the statistical disparity shown. Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 735. See generally MacPherson v. University of Montevallo, 922 F.2d 766, 771 (11th Cir.1991) (citing Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U.S. 642, 655-56, 109 S.Ct. 2115, 2124, 104 L.Ed.2d 733 (1989); Watson v. Fort Worth Bank & Trust, 487 U.S. 977, 994-95, 108 S.Ct. 2777, 2789, 101 L.Ed.2d 827 (1988)).
According to Title VII, "[i]n the first stage of a disparate impact case, the `complaining party [must] demonstrate  that a respondent uses a particular employment practice that causes a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.'" In re Employment, 198 F.3d at 1311 (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(k)(1)(A)(i)). "To `demonstrate' means to `meet the burdens of production and persuasion.'" Id. (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(m) (1994)). "In other words, in order to surmount the first hurdle in a disparate impact race discrimination case, the plaintiff must make out a prima facie case `that [a] facially neutral employment practice ha[s] a significantly discriminatory impact.'" Id. (quoting Connecticut v. Teal, 457 U.S. 440, 446, 102 S.Ct. 2525, 2530, 73 L.Ed.2d 130 (1982)). As the Supreme Court explained in Watson, "the plaintiff must offer statistical evidence
Once each of these three elements are shown, a plaintiff has established a prima facie case of disparate impact discrimination. See Fitzpatrick, 2 F.3d at 1117; MacPherson, 922 F.2d at 771. The burden of production then shifts to the defendant to establish that the challenged employment practice serves a legitimate, non-discriminatory business objective. See Fitzpatrick, 2 F.3d at 1117. However, even if the defendant satisfies this burden, a plaintiff may still prevail by proving that an alternative, non-discriminatory practice would have served the defendant's stated objective equally as well. See id. at 1118.
As for the first prong of the analysis, it is critical to observe that no statistically-significant disparity exists between the percentage of women who actually applied to Joe's and the percentage of women who were hired as servers by Joe's. The record indicates that for the pre-charge period (October 1986 to June 1991) very few female food servers applied to Joe's, "perhaps 3% of [all] applicants," Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 734, out of an actual applicant pool of between 80 and 120 people a year.
This insight is important for disparate impact analysis because the mere fact that Joe's hired no women in the pre-charge period is not, alone, sufficient to impose upon Joe's Title VII liability. To hold otherwise would be to impose liability upon Joe's based on "bottom line" reasoning which the Supreme Court has expressly forbade. In Watson, the Supreme Court made clear that Title VII liability could not be based solely on "bottom line" statistical imbalances in an employer's workforce. See Watson, 487 U.S. at 992, 108 S.Ct. 2777 (explaining that it is "unrealistic to suppose that employers can eliminate, or discover and explain, the myriad of innocent causes that may lead to statistical imbalances in the composition of their workforces"). The Supreme Court then further explained in Wards Cove:
Id., 490 U.S., at 656-57, 109 S.Ct. 2115 (internal citation omitted) (emphasis added); see also MacPherson, 922 F.2d at 771.
This disdain for "bottom line" reasoning reflects the belief that holding employers liable for statistical imbalances per se is inconsistent with Title VII's plain language and statutory purpose. Section 703(j) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C.2000e-2(j), in fact, explicitly rejects the notion that employers must adopt numerical hiring quotas or "grant preferential treatment . . . on account of an imbalance which may exist with respect to the total number or percentage of persons . . . in comparison with the total number or percentage . . . in any community." Based on this statutory language, the Supreme Court has interpreted this provision of Title VII to mean that employers possess no affirmative duty to redress workforce imbalances not attributable to their own corporate conduct. See Watson, 487 U.S. at 993, 108 S.Ct. 2777 (finding that employers have no duty under Title VII to ameliorate uncaused workforce imbalances because such a legal rule is "`far from the intent of Title VII'") (quoting Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 449, 95 S.Ct. 2362, 45 L.Ed.2d 280 (1975) (Blackmun, J., concurring)); Furnco Construction Corp. v. Waters, 438 U.S. 567, 577-78, 98 S.Ct. 2943, 2950, 57 L.Ed.2d 957 (1978) (finding that employers are under no affirmative duty to impose hiring quotas to reflect demographic percentages). Indeed, if employers could be held liable for an unlawful disparate impact on account of statistical workforce imbalances per se, then they would be forced to use numerical quotas and other forms of preferential treatment in their hiring and promotion policies, in express contravention of Title VII, in order to insulate themselves from the potential legal liability that would arise if their workforce demographics did not closely mirror the demographics of their surrounding community or local competitors. As a result, a plaintiff must do more than simply identify a workforce imbalance to establish a prima facie disparate impact case; it must causally connect a facially-neutral employment practice to the identified disparity.
In this case, the district court could create a statistically-significant disparity only by first throwing out the actual applicant data as a point of comparison and instead comparing the percentage of women hired for server positions at Joe's with the percentage of women in the "qualified" labor pool. The district court recognized
Since Griggs, we are aware of no case in which a facially-discriminatory practice has been challenged successfully under a disparate impact theory. Simply put, disparate impact theory is available for the challenge of facially-neutral employment practices. See, e.g., Lanning v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transp. Auth., 181 F.3d 478, 485 (3rd Cir.1999) (finding that "plaintiffs establish a prima facie case of disparate impact by demonstrating that application of a facially neutral standard has resulted in a significantly discriminatory hiring pattern") (emphasis added). Indeed, the district court properly recognized that "[s]ex discrimination under the theory of disparate impact occurs when a facially neutral rule or practice of the employer has a disproportionate impact on one sex. . . . To establish a prima facie case of disparate impact sex discrimination, the plaintiff must show that a facially neutral practice of the employer has a disproportionate impact on one sex." Joe's, 969 F.Supp. at 735 (emphasis added).
The central problem in this case, however, is that the district court has identified no facially-neutral employment practice responsible for the gender disparity in Joe's food server population, and we can find none. The EEOC and the district court have identified, at most, two neutral employment practices on which to ground a disparate impact analysis: first, Joe's word of mouth recruiting, and second, Joe's "undirected and undisciplined delegation of hiring authority to subordinate staff," Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 738, resulting in its subjective "roll call" hiring process. Disparate impact analysis fails in this case because neither neutral practice can be causally connected to the gender disparity.
Nor is there any evidence that Joe's facially-neutral, albeit undisciplined and subjective, hiring practices caused the disparity the district court found between the percentage of women in the qualified labor pool and the percentage of women actually hired as servers by Joe's. There is no evidence that Joe's subjective hiring criteria either caused women not to apply to Joe's or caused those who applied not to be hired. Joe's hiring roll call decisions were made through a subjective hiring process in which Joe's hiring maitre d' relied on short applicant interviews to assess an applicant's qualification based on a range of subjective factors, including "appearance, attitude, articulation, and experience." Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 733. No witnesses testified and no evidence was presented into the record indicating that any women failed to apply to Joe's because its hiring criteria included specific judgments about an applicant's appearance, attitude, articulation, or experience. Nor was any evidence presented showing that women who did apply for server positions at Joe's were disadvantaged by these specific hiring criteria. Indeed, as we have stated previously, there is in fact no disparity between the percentage of women who actually applied to Joe's for server positions and the percentage of women hired. Plainly, therefore, the subjective hiring criteria did not harm women once they entered the application process.
The district court, recognizing that it could not causally connect Joe's neutral, albeit subjective, recruiting and hiring practices with the disparity between the percentage of women in the qualified labor pool and the percentage of women actually hired as servers by Joe's, identified Joe's reputation as a discriminator against women as the causal agent for the disparity. See Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 740. For the district court, Joe's reputation for not hiring female food servers acted as the essential bridge connecting the neutral practices to the statistical disparity. In other words, according to the district court's own reasoning, it was not Joe's neutral recruiting or hiring practices that
We conclude that the district court's use of reputation was, on the face of this record, both problematic and inadequate for several independent reasons. First, reputation itself is neither a specific act or a practice. It is far more amorphous. Reputation is "`a prevalent or common belief, a general name, the opinion of a number of persons.'" United States v. North Carolina Nat'l Bank, 336 F.2d 248, 253 (4th Cir.1964) (quoting United States v. C.I.T. Corp., 93 F.2d 469, 471 (2nd Cir.1937)). Reputation is the community "picture" of an individual or corporate entity formed over a number of years. See generally Michelson v. United States, 335 U.S. 469, 477, 69 S.Ct. 213, 93 L.Ed. 168 (1948). Reputation has never been used, as far as we can tell, as a facially-neutral employment act or practice for disparate impact purposes. In the intentional discrimination context, some cases have considered reputation evidence for the limited purpose of defining the parameters of Title VII remedial relief where intentional discrimination either has been conceded or proven and there is evidence that an employer's discriminatory practices prevented qualified applicants from applying for new jobs. See Morrow v. Crisler, 491 F.2d 1053, 1055-57 (5th Cir.1974) (en banc) (instructing district court on remand to consider the role of Mississippi Highway Patrol Department's entrenched reputation for race discrimination—a reputation based on their historical practice of intentional race discrimination—in discouraging black applicants when shaping remedial recruiting policies for the Department); see also EEOC v. Rath Packing Co., 787 F.2d 318, 337 (8th Cir.1986) (explaining that reputation evidence could be considered in determining the relevant labor market for the computation of a Title VII class backpay award given the employer's well-known historical practice of intentional sex discrimination) (citing Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324, 365, 97 S.Ct. 1843, 52 L.Ed.2d 396 (1977)). We have been pointed to no case, however, and can find none that has treated an employer's reputation as a discriminator as itself an act or practice for the purposes of establishing a prima facie case under a theory of disparate impact. Indeed, no case has ever used reputation as a bridge connecting a neutral hiring practice to a statistical disparity in order to establish disparate impact liability where the neutral employment practices alone did not cause the disparity.
In addition, even if reputation could somehow be used in theory as a causal bridge, in this case there is no logical or factual connection between any facially-neutral component of Joe's employment practices and Joe's reputation as a discriminator. Nothing in this record indicates that Joe's recruitment by "word-of-mouth" rather than through other recruiting mechanisms such as print or television advertising contributed in any way to Joe's reputation for discrimination. Nor is there any evidence that the use of appearance, articulation, attitude, and experience as hiring criteria contributed to Joe's reputation for discrimination. Indeed, there is no suggestion from either party that these hiring criteria are themselves somehow illegitimate or discriminatory.
Finally, we observe that the district court expressly admitted evidence of Joe's reputation as a discriminator not for the truth of the matter asserted but only to show the state of mind of the women who failed to apply for server positions at Joe's. According to the district court, Joe's reputation was not entered into evidence "as proof of conduct consistent with the reputation, as proof of Joe's hiring practices themselves, or as proof of bad character or intent to discriminate" but "was admitted solely to establish the existence of the reputation." Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 736. The district court thereby expressly refused to find any direct causal connection between any of Joe's neutral employment practices and its reputation as a discriminator.
While a company may be held liable for a discriminatory reputation if there is evidence it caused or perpetuated that reputation through some intentional affirmative act, see Morrow, 491 F.2d at 1055-57; Rath Packing, 787 F.2d at 337, we know of no federal circuit that has found an employer liable under Title VII on the basis of a reputation for discrimination it did not cause. See Lewis, 577 F.2d at 1143. Nor are we prepared to impose on an employer an affirmative duty under Title VII to ameliorate a public reputation not attributable to its own employment conduct. See id. (observing that "[w]e do not think a failure of the company to announce innocence is a violation of Title VII"); see also Sheet Metal Workers, Int'l Assoc., 463 F.Supp. at 425. In fact, we are unaware of any case that requires a Title VII employer to affirmatively dispel a negative public image not of its own making or else be subject to a finding of Title VII discrimination.
That said, the record extant and some of the district court's findings of fact can be read to support the alternate conclusion that Joe's management intentionally excluded women from food serving positions in order to provide its customers with an "Old World," fine-dining ambience. Thus, for example, the district court found that "Joe's management acquiesced in and gave silent approbation to the notion that male food servers were preferable to female food servers." Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 731. At another point in its findings, the district court observed that "Joe's sought to emulate Old World traditions by creating an ambience in which tuxedo-clad men served its distinctive menu." Id. at 732-33. Moreover, the district court apparently also credited the testimony of one of Joe's former hiring maitre d', Roy Garrett, who explained that Joe's was "a male server type of job" by tradition. Id. at 732. As a result, the district court said that "women have systematically been excluded from the most lucrative entry level position, that of server." Id. at 740. Finally, the district court found that this historical practice of hiring only men was responsible for Joe's "male-only" reputation. The district court held that "Joe's reputation in the community, which reflected the restaurant's historical hiring practice, led potential female applicants not to apply for server positions.
But, these factual findings do not mesh easily with a disparate impact theory because they suggest that Joe's hiring system was not in practice facially-neutral, but rather was facially-discriminatory on the basis of gender. They suggest the conclusion that in fact Joe's had a desired preference for male servers and that this preference influenced the hiring decisions of Joe's decisionmakers, resulting in the deliberate and systematic exclusion of women as food servers. If this were true, Joe's could be found liable for intentional discrimination in violation of Title VII. We emphasize that this is not a case like Griggs, where there was a pronounced history of intentional discrimination followed by a facially-neutral employment practice which perpetuates the effects of an employer's previous discrimination. See also Rowe v. General Motors Corp., 457 F.2d 348, 356 (5th Cir.1972) (holding that GM's promotion/transfer standards "freeze" into effect the racial disparity in salaried jobs created by the company's prior policy of explicit discrimination); Senter v. General Motors Corp., 532 F.2d 511, 526, 530 (6th Cir.1976) (affirming the district court's finding that the employer's subjective promotions procedures had the effect of "locking" minorities into the hourly ranks and out of the supervisory ranks). The district court's findings and the record evidence indicate that Joe's hiring methodology and practices have remained relatively constant throughout the relevant time periods. Therefore, if Joe's was guilty of intentionally discriminating against women in hiring servers, it would be liable for intentional discrimination throughout the entire pre-charge period since there is absolutely no evidence that Joe's adopted new facially-neutral hiring requirements until, at best, the post-charge period when it implemented an objective tray test and started to use a three-person interview panel.
Having said all this, we reiterate that nothing in this record supports a disparate impact theory of liability. Rather, much of the district court's findings (as well as the credited record evidence), may be read to support the conclusion that Joe's employment practices in hiring servers were really permeated with an unlawful intention to discriminate. None of the district court's findings support the conclusion that a facially-neutral practice or policy of Joe's caused its reputation, and there is not a scintilla of evidence in the record to support this notion. In short, under the district court's findings, it is not the formal mechanics of Joe's roll-call system or the criteria embedded in its subjective hiring practices, nor its formal delegation of hiring authority to its maitre d's which kept women from applying to and being hired by Joe's during the pre- and post-charge periods.
At bottom then, this case really centers around the theory that women refrained from making the "futile gesture," Teamsters, 431 U.S. at 365-366, 97 S.Ct. 1843, of applying to Joe's when they knew that Joe's only hired men as food servers. If Joe's reputation came from anything causally attributable to the restaurant, it emanated from Joe's own purportedly discriminatory hiring practices, not from the specific facially neutral practices identified by the district court. While we agree that in some situations evidence of prior historical discrimination may provide relevant background to a contemporary disparate impact challenge,
We are left then with two unattractive choices on appeal: first, we can affirm the liability judgment on an alternate theory of Title VII liability such as disparate treatment or pattern or practice discrimination, as the EEOC suggests, or we can remand so that the district court may reconsider its factual findings and conclusions of law. Although the district court's findings may be read to suggest a pattern or practice on the part of Joe's to intentionally discriminate on the basis of sex in its hiring of food servers, we are not prepared to draw this conclusion in the face of the district court's having expressly rejected this theory; rather we think a remand to the district court is the wiser choice.
We reach this conclusion for three principal reasons. First, we are deeply troubled by and unable to easily square the fundamental inconsistency between the district court's express rejection of the EEOC's intentional discrimination claim and several of its subsidiary factual findings that Joe's hired male servers only in order to create an "Old World" fine dining ambience. At trial, the EEOC primarily argued an intentional discrimination theory of liability. However, as noted, the district court summarily rejected this theory without analysis. It unambiguously stated in the opening paragraph of its partial final judgment order that "[b]ased on an evaluation of the evidence, the court finds that the EEOC has not proved intentional discrimination." Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 730. Later, in its conclusion of law section, the district court reiterated this conclusion observing that "[t]he court finds that the EEOC has not met its burden of proof under disparate treatment analysis." Id. at 735.
Second, after carefully reading the trial transcript, we believe the district court's conclusion that the EEOC has not met its burden of proving intentional discrimination may have been based on an erroneous view of Title VII case law. When "`a district court has failed to make a finding because of an erroneous view of the law, the usual rule is that there should be a remand for further proceedings to permit the trial court to make the necessary findings.'" Perryman v. Johnson Products Co., Inc., 698 F.2d 1138, 1144 n. 11 (11th Cir.1983) (quoting Pullman-Standard v. Swint, 456 U.S. 273, 291, 102 S.Ct. 1781, 72 L.Ed.2d 66 (1982)). In light of the district court's seemingly unambiguous findings that "Joe's has been a `male server type' establishment for the better part of the century" and that "women have systematically been excluded from the most lucrative entry level position, that of server," Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 740, we emphasize that a finding of disparate treatment requires no more than a finding that women were intentionally treated differently by Joe's because of or on account of their gender. To prove the discriminatory intent necessary for a disparate treatment or pattern or practice claim, a plaintiff need not prove that a
Simply put, Title VII prohibits "the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and women resulting from sex stereotypes," Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power v. Manhart, 435 U.S. 702, 708 n. 13, 98 S.Ct. 1370, 55 L.Ed.2d 657 (1978) (quoting Sprogis v. United Air Lines Inc., 444 F.2d 1194, 1198 (7th Cir.1971)), even where the stereotypes are benign or not grounded in group animus. Therefore, if Joe's deliberately and systematically excluded women from food server positions based on a sexual stereotype which simply associated "fine-dining ambience" with all-male food service, it then could be found liable under Title VII for intentional discrimination regardless of whether it also was motivated by ill-will or malice toward women.
The third reason favoring remand is that almost all of the evidence of intentional discrimination came in the form of conflicting witness testimony subject to lengthy cross-examination. It is clear from the trial record, for example, that several plaintiff witnesses provided testimony, which if credited by the trial court, could support a finding of intentional discrimination. Several witnesses testified that Joe's management actively discouraged women from applying. Specifically, a former telephone clerk at Joe's, Cathy Evans, testified that she was told by General Manager Robert Moorehead, among others, to inform women who called about server positions that the restaurant did not hire female servers. In addition, former take-out cook Cassandra Williams testified that she was told by management that the restaurant only hired women to work in the take-out section, that she was told by a waiter that Joe's did not hire female servers, and that she overheard Roy Garret state that no women were hired to work in the main dining room. Finally, Barbara Mommsen testified that when she applied for a server position in 1987, she was told by owner Joanne Bass that Joe's did not hire female servers. It is equally clear from the trial record that Joe's owners and key management personnel, including Joanne Bass and Robert Moorehead, vigorously denied these specific allegations at trial. The district court made no specific findings on the credibility of these witnesses, and did not specifically resolve these credibility conflicts. We are not in a position on appellate review to sort through this conflicting witness testimony in regard to Plaintiff's intentional discrimination claims. Under our caselaw, we allot substantial deference to the factfinder, in this case, the district court, in reaching credibility determinations with respect to witness testimony. See Stano, 51 F.3d at 944 (holding that we defer even
Since the state of this record is replete with conflicting witness testimony and conflicting conclusions drawn by the district court, the wisest approach, we think, is to remand the case to the factfinder for more detailed findings on the EEOC's intentional discrimination claims. Only in this way, can we be assured of reaching an outcome truly consonant with the factfinder's view of the evidence. We therefore abide by the general rule of law that "`a remand is the proper course unless the record permits only one resolution of the factual issue.'" Cooper-Houston v. Southern Ry. Co., 37 F.3d 603, 604 (11th Cir.1994) (quoting Kelley v. Southern Pacific Co., 419 U.S. 318, 331-32, 95 S.Ct. 472, 42 L.Ed.2d 498 (1974)); see also DeMarco v. United States, 415 U.S. 449, 450, 94 S.Ct. 1185, 39 L.Ed.2d 501 (1974) (stating that "factfinding is the basic responsibility of district courts, rather than appellate courts").
Finally, before we remand, we take a moment to explicate in more detail settled law concerning the requirements of Title VII liability based on a finding of intentional discrimination. There are two theories of intentional discrimination under Title VII: disparate treatment and pattern or practice discrimination. Disparate treatment claims require proof of discriminatory intent either through direct or circumstantial evidence. See Harris, 99 F.3d at 1083 (observing that a "`plaintiff must, by either direct or circumstantial evidence, demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the employer had a discriminatory intent'" to prove a disparate treatment claim) (quoting Batey v. Stone, 24 F.3d 1330, 1334 (11th Cir.1994)). "Direct evidence is evidence that establishes the existence of discriminatory intent behind the employment decision without any inference or presumption." Standard v. A.B.E.L. Servs., Inc., 161 F.3d 1318, 1330 (11th Cir.1998) (citing Carter v. City of Miami, 870 F.2d 578, 580-81 (11th Cir. 1989)). Absent direct evidence, a plaintiff may prove intentional discrimination through the familiar McDonnell Douglas paradigm for circumstantial evidence claims. To establish a prima facie case of disparate treatment under this rubric, a plaintiff "must show: (1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) she was subjected to adverse employment action; (3) her employer treated similarly situated male employees more favorably; and (4) she was qualified to do the job." Maniccia v. Brown, 171 F.3d 1364, 1368 (11th Cir. 1999). Once these elements are established, a defendant has the burden of producing "legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for its employment action." Holifield v. Reno, 115 F.3d 1555, 1564 (11th Cir. 1997) (citing Texas Dep't of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 101 S.Ct. 1089, 67 L.Ed.2d 207 (1981)). If such a reason is produced, a plaintiff then has the ultimate burden of proving the reason to be a pretext for unlawful discrimination. See Holifield, 115 F.3d at 1565.
In contrast, a pattern and practice claim either may be brought by the EEOC if there is "reasonable cause to believe that any person or group of persons is engaged in a pattern or practice" of discrimination, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-6(a) (1994); see also In re Employment, 198 F.3d at 1310 n. 8, or by a class of private plaintiffs under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et. seq., see Cox v. American Cast Iron Pipe Co., 784 F.2d 1546, 1549 (11th Cir.1986). In such suits, the plaintiffs must establish "`that [sex] discrimination was the company's standard operating procedure.'" Cox, 784 F.2d at 1559 (quoting Teamsters, 431 U.S. at 336, 97 S.Ct. 1843); see also Franks v. Bowman Transportation Co., 424 U.S. 747, 772, 96 S.Ct. 1251, 47 L.Ed.2d 444 (1976). To meet this burden of proof, a plaintiff must "prove more than
Having offered these observations about Title VII law, we remand to the sound discretion of the district court, which has labored so long and diligently, so that it may make such factual findings and draw such conclusions of law about the EEOC's intentional discrimination claims as it may deem appropriate. We have struggled mightily to avoid a remand. We know full well that much time and expense already has been spent on this case both before the district court and on appeal. However, in the end, we believe that the most just result is to remand to the district court for reconsideration in light of this opinion. In this way, the district court, which has heard all of the witness testimony firsthand, may conduct the relevant factfinding requisite for determining liability on the EEOC's intentional discrimination claims.
Accordingly, we vacate the district court's judgment of liability as to the EEOC's disparate impact claims, and we remand to the district court so that it may reconsider its factual findings and conclusions of law on the EEOC's intentional discrimination claims in light of this opinion. Because of our holding, we have no occasion to reach the various issues raised on appeal regarding the propriety of the remedies awarded by the district court.
VACATED AND REMANDED.
HULL, Circuit Judge, specially concurring in part and dissenting in part:
After a lengthy bench trial, the district court, as the fact-finder, entered comprehensive
I also agree with the majority that disparate impact liability requires a showing that facially-neutral employment practices caused the lack of female food servers at Joe's. I disagree, however, with the majority's conclusion that the district court "identified no facially-neutral practice responsible for the gender disparity in Joe's food server population and we can find none." I disagree because the district court (1) did single out certain employment practices that are facially-neutral and (2) did not err in finding that these practices caused the gender disparity in Joe's food servers. In my view, the district court's finding of disparate impact liability should be affirmed in full.
Alternatively, even if, as the majority concludes, the district court's subsidiary factual findings suggest that facially-discriminatory practices at Joe's actually caused the gender disparity and thus its findings support only disparate treatment liability, we should affirm on that alternate ground. A remand for more work by this trial court is unnecessary. To demonstrate why the liability phase of this protracted case should end here, I discuss first why the district court did not err in finding disparate impact liability, and then why the district court's subsidiary findings are amply sufficient for us to affirm the district court's liability decision on the alternate ground of disparate treatment.
I. DISPARATE IMPACT LIABILITY
It is undisputed that from 1950 to 1986, Joe's hired all male food servers with one exception. The district court identified facially-neutral employment practices by Joe's that caused this historical gender disparity in its food servers to continue in the pre-charge period—from 1986 to 1990—and the post-charge period—from 1991 to 1995. The district court even began its conclusions of law by acknowledging that "[t]o establish a prima facie case of disparate impact sex discrimination, the plaintiff must show that a facially neutral practice of the employer has a disproportionate impact on one sex." Id. at 735 (emphasis added).
The district court also correctly applied these legal principles to its factual findings.
Because the evidence overwhelmingly showed a legally significant gender disparity in Joe's food servers, the majority opinion necessarily focuses on the second and third prongs of a prima facie disparate impact case—whether the EEOC and the district court identified facially-neutral employment practices as causing this gender disparity. The majority concludes they did not. I conclude they did.
The main facially-neutral employment practice identified by the district court was management's lack of any hiring guidelines and policies and the resultant "undirected and undisciplined delegation of hiring authority to subordinate staff."
The district court emphasized that the subjective criteria that Joe's hiring staff used, and the majority focuses on—appearance, attitude, articulation, and experience— were not defined in any way or standardized between interviewers. Id. at 738. For example, the district court found that the criteria of experience was not defined by management and varied among staff interviewers based upon their subjective beliefs about what constituted experience. The district court also found that some of Joe's hiring staff believed that prior single service experience—as opposed to team service experience—is required; others did not. As a result, the district court found that some female candidates with decades of experience were rejected by Joe's staff, while other males without any experience were hired. Id. at 739.
The district court also observed that after the EEOC's charge, Joe's management directed the daytime maitre d' to interview with another maitre d' and subsequently used a panel of three interviewers, later changed to include a woman. The district court found, however, that "[w]hile management's introduction of a
Another major employment practice at Joe's, which the district court identified as causing the gender disparity, was Joe's use of only a "word-of-mouth" roll call system for recruiting new servers. The district court pointed out that year after year only a few women came to the roll call due to Joe's well-known historical practice of hiring, and using, only tuxedo-clad men as servers. The district court emphasized that Joe's did not advertise in the newspaper or elsewhere that it was an equal opportunity employer or that Joe's hired both men and women as servers. Instead, Joe's continued recruiting through only the "word-of-mouth" roll call on the first Tuesday in October—just as it had done for decades.
The majority stresses that the particular date of the roll call was widely known in the Miami Beach community, and that no woman testified that she failed to apply because she was unaware of the roll call. However, the district court found that Joe's historical practice of hiring only men as servers was also well known in that community and caused women servers to self-select out and not come to Joe's roll call. Joe's own conduct caused the dearth of women applicants. The district court, in effect, found women refrained from making the futile gesture of attending the roll call when they knew Joe's hired only men as servers.
Although the undisciplined delegation of hiring, subjective interview process, and the use of a roll call are facially-neutral employment practices, the district court also referenced "Joe's history of being an all-male server establishment." Id. at 739. Excluding women as servers—even if to create a fine dining ambience of tuxedo-clad men—is a facially-discriminatory practice, as the majority notes. However, Joe's past discriminatory hiring is part of the factual background against which the district court analyzed whether the above facially-neutral practices caused the gender disparity to continue. The district court's order raised the precise question of whether "Joe's undirected and undisciplined delegation of hiring authority cause[d] the disparity between the number of women hired as servers and the number of women available, or are forces outside the hiring process—such as a deteriorating neighborhood, low turnover, or the heavy lifting required of servers—to blame?" Id.
In short, the district court considered the above facially-neutral employment practices, not in a vacuum, but in the context of Joe's historical discriminatory practice of excluding women as food servers. The district court properly considered Joe's historical discriminatory practices, and the "males-only" reputation Joe's created for itself, as relevant background evidence in examining whether Joe's facially-neutral employment practices caused and continued the gender disparity in Joe's food servers. In doing so, the district court did not err because it is well
Against this historical backdrop, then, the district court found that management's continued unguided and undisciplined delegation of hiring authority, without any written or verbal policies or guidelines, allowed Joe's subordinate staff (a) to recruit servers by using only its "word-of-mouth" roll call system even though that system had proved to recruit mostly male applicants, and (b) to continue to hire only males as food servers based on their "gut feelings" regardless of the qualified women who did apply. In this manner, the facially-neutral practices caused the gender disparity. The district court further described how Joe's delegation of hiring authority to staff without any guidelines, and the use of solely the "word-of-mouth" roll call, actually caused the statistical disparity, as follows:
Id. at 738.
Additionally, the district court correctly found that Joe's facially-neutral recruiting and hiring practices did not address the entrenched "male-only" hiring and "male-only" reputation Joe's created for itself and thereby further caused the gender disparity to continue. The district court found that, at a minimum, Joe's needed to advertise that it now hired both men and women as servers. Instead, Joe's continued reliance on the facially-neutral, "word-of-mouth" roll call caused the gender disparity in its applicant pool and, in turn, its hires, to continue. Furthermore, as to the women who did apply, the district court found that "without additional guidance and structuring by management, there is no assurance that female applicants who [do] attend roll call will be treated even-handedly." Id. at 740.
The district court's findings are akin to those in Griggs and other cases in which neutral employment practices have been found to perpetuate historical discrimination. Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 430, 91 S.Ct. 849, 28 L.Ed.2d 158 (1971) (making clear that Title VII prohibited an employer from using neutral hiring and promotion practices to "freeze" in place a status quo achieved through prior decades of intentional discrimination); Senter v. General Motors Corp., 532 F.2d 511 (6th Cir.1976); Rowe v. General Motors Corp., 457 F.2d 348 (5th Cir.1972).
As in Rowe, Joe's had a historical practice of excluding a protected group. Nor was any direction given to Joe's hiring staff or potential applicants that an effort was being made to change its longstanding historical practice of excluding women as food servers. Indeed, just the opposite occurred. Joe's hired 108 male servers between 1986 and 1990 but no women, without management voicing an objection to its staff. Further, the hiring staff continued to use only the "word-of-mouth" roll call for recruiting without objection, and was given little to no guidance in terms of how to assess even those female applicants who did apply. As a result, Joe's staff admittedly relied upon vague "gut feelings." The staff themselves testified that they viewed Joe's as a place for male servers.
Because Joe's delegated authority over both recruiting and hiring to staff who admittedly felt that the restaurant was a male-server type of establishment and had historically known it to be so, Joe's staff was content to hire only men and to use a "word-of-mouth" roll call system which recruited mostly men. Further, the interviewers' admitted bias for male servers went unchecked by guidance from management.
Thus, I conclude that the district court's findings—that Joe's specific facially-neutral recruiting and hiring practices caused the gender disparity in its serving staff— are not clearly erroneous.
II. DISPARATE TREATMENT
Alternatively, even if, as the majority concludes, the district court's subsidiary factual findings that Joe's systematically excluded women as food servers show that disparate treatment analysis is more appropriate in this case than disparate impact analysis, I would affirm the district court's liability finding on that basis.
The majority concedes that "some of the district court's findings of fact can be read to support the alternate conclusion that Joe's management intentionally excluded women from food-serving positions in order to provide its customers with an `Old World,' fine-dining ambience." I would go further and hold that the district court's factual findings actually do support disparate treatment liability. Specifically, the district court found that Joe's was "traditionally a male place" and was "always a tradition . . . that it was a male server type of job," quoting Maitre d' Garret's testimony to this effect:
Joe's Stone Crab, 969 F.Supp. at 732 (alteration by district court) (emphasis added).
At another point, the district court found that "Joe's management acquiesced in and gave silent approbation to the notion that male food servers were preferable to female food servers." Id. at 731. The district court further found that "what prevailed
Id. at 740 (emphasis added).
At trial, Joe's asserted that it had no women servers because it "hired from an open applicant pool and women simply did not apply." Id. at 733. The district court expressly rejected Joe's contention. Instead, the district court found that Joe's hired only males as servers for half a century because it wanted to emulate the "Old World" tradition of male servers to create an ambience of "fine dining." The court also specifically found that Joe's all-male serving staff and its historical hiring practices caused its "male-only" reputation, stating:
Id. at 733.
In summary, the district court expressly found that Joe's systematically excluded women as food servers, and that Joe's longstanding practice of excluding women as servers created its well-known "male-only" reputation. Thus, Joe's "male-only" hiring practices and "male-only" reputation caused the dearth of female applicants at its roll call and the lack of female food servers. As the majority opinion acknowledges, "much of the district court's findings (as well as the credited record evidence), may be read to support the conclusion that Joe's employment practices in hiring servers were really permeated with an unlawful intention to discriminate."
Thus, as the majority opinion appears to concede, the district court's subsidiary factual findings are sufficient to support disparate treatment liability. As the majority states, "a finding of disparate treatment requires no more than a finding that women were intentionally treated differently by Joe's because of or on account of their gender." Furthermore, as the majority states, "[t]o prove the discriminatory intent necessary for a disparate treatment ... claim, a plaintiff need not prove that a defendant harbored some special `animus' or `malice' towards the protected group to which she belongs." Rather, as the majority observes, "[i]f Joe's deliberately and systematically excluded women from food server positions based on a sexual stereotype which simply associated `fine-dining
The majority does not go a step further and affirm on the alternate ground of disparate treatment, however, because it is troubled by "an inconsistency" in the district court's order. As the majority opinion points out, the district court never discusses or analyzes the EEOC's disparate treatment claim, but instead gives only the summary legal conclusion that "the EEOC has not proved intentional discrimination" and "has not met its burden of proof under disparate treatment analysis." Id. at 730, 735. Despite the lack of analysis or discussion, the majority opinion finds that this two-sentence summary legal conclusion creates a "fundamental inconsistency" with the district court's factual findings, making remand the "wiser choice."
I would agree were it not for the fact that the district court made such extensive and clear factual findings about Joe's discriminatory hiring practices. The record evidence overwhelmingly supports those factual findings, and those factual findings clearly support disparate treatment liability. More importantly, any inconsistency created by this two-sentence legal conclusion is easily reconciled from the face of the district court's order itself. A close analysis of the order reveals that the district court was under the mistaken view that the intentional discrimination necessary for disparate treatment required either (1) an express policy or directive from Joe's owners to exclude women or (2) some animus, ill-will, or malice toward women.
The district court viewed Joe's discriminatory practice as one adopted by Joe's as the by-product of its "fine dining" tradition and therefore not a direct intentional act of discrimination against women. Specifically, in the district court's view, the hiring of men was due to a desire to emulate a "fine dining" tradition, as opposed to an animus toward, or a written policy excluding, women. As a result, the district court viewed Joe's practices as causing a disparate impact on women rather than intentional discrimination against women. Id. at 731.
But as the majority aptly states, if Joe's "excluded women from food server positions based on a sexual stereotype which simply associated `fine dining' ambience with only all-male food service, it then could be found liable under Title VII for intentional discrimination regardless of whether it had such a written policy or was motivated by ill-will or malice." Since the district court so clearly made repeated findings that this is precisely what occurred at Joe's, I would affirm on the alternative ground of disparate treatment thus pretermitting any need for remand. As the majority points out, this district court "has labored ... long and diligently" and this "remand in no way obligates the district court to hear additional evidence or argument in the case." Because the majority "remand[s] to the sound discretion of the district court," that court may consider whether to simply strike the two sentences the majority finds create a "fundamental inconsistency" and to then reaffirm its decision on the alternate ground that the EEOC proved disparate treatment of female food servers at Joe's.
Lastly, the majority opinion favors remand because "almost all of the evidence of intentional discrimination came in the form of conflicting witness testimony subject to lengthy cross-examination." The majority notes that witnesses Evans, Williams, and Mommsen testified that Joe's management told them that Joe's did not hire female servers and actively discouraged women from applying, but also notes that Joe's management witnesses Bass and Moorehead denied doing this. The majority observes that the district court "made no specific findings on the credibility of these witnesses, and did not specifically resolve these credibility conflicts," and concludes that "we are not in a
I disagree. This analysis ignores that the district court did make clear and extensive factual findings that Joe's excluded women as food servers in order to emulate an Old World fine dining experience and then cited certain evidence and quoted at length certain admissions in the testimony by Joe's management witnesses that amply supported those factual findings. The district court was not required in its order to review and make credibility findings regarding each part of the testimony of each witness. Nor is the district court required to detail all of the other extensive trial evidence that supported its factual findings regarding why Joe's had all male servers. Instead, our job on appeal is to review the entire record evidence in the light most favorable to the EEOC, as we must, and to determine whether that evidence amply supports the extensive factual findings the district court did make. The record evidence clearly does. The findings that the district court actually did make are more than sufficient to support liability on the alternative ground of disparate treatment. Thus, it is unnecessary to remand this case for the district court to resolve further credibility conflicts.
For all of these reasons, I would affirm the district court's liability decision in this case.
Id. at 740.
Id. at 468-69 (footnotes omitted). This reasoning was affirmed on appeal by a plurality opinion of the Supreme Court. Price Waterhouse, 490 U.S. at 250-52, 109 S.Ct. 1775 (plurality opinion); id. at 259, 490 U.S. 228, 109 S.Ct. 1775, 104 L.Ed.2d 268 (White, J., concurring in the judgment); id. at 261, 272, 277-78, 490 U.S. 228, 109 S.Ct. 1775, 104 L.Ed.2d 268 (O'Connor, J., concurring in the judgment); see also Hopkins v. Price Waterhouse, 920 F.2d 967, 969 (D.C.Cir.1990) (affirming district court decision after remand from Supreme Court and noting that this portion of Hopkins, 825 F.2d at 468-69, was upheld by the Supreme Court). Notably, the Price Waterhouse plurality explained that "[i]n the specific context of sex stereotyping, an employer who acts on the basis of a belief that a woman cannot be aggressive, or that she must not be, has acted on the basis of gender," and therefore has committed intentional discrimination under Title VII. Price Waterhouse, 490 U.S. at 249, 109 S.Ct. 1775 (emphasis added).
Further, the district court did not err in finding the available qualified labor pool was 31.9% female, and not the 0 to 3% or 21.9% actual applicants as claimed by Joe's. The district court's findings were amply supported by evidence (a) that 30 to 40% of the food servers at nearby Miami restaurants were female, (b) that the 1990 census data showed the available qualified labor pool of servers being 44.1% female, and (c) the testimony of Dr. McClave, Joe's own expert, who had refined this 44.1% to 31.9% to reflect only experienced food servers in the higher income brackets of Joe's food servers. See Kilgo, 789 F.2d at 869-70 (concluding that the "determination of the relevant labor market in [that case was] essentially a factual inquiry"); Markey v. Tenneco Oil Co., 635 F.2d 497, 499 (5th Cir.1981) (stating that the trial court is afforded a great deal of discretion in determining the relevant labor market). Finally, the waiter or server work force in Dade County, Florida, was 69.6% female. Thus, this 31.9% figure was substantially less and a conservative percentage given the overall evidence.
The above testimony is from the liability trial. At the subsequent damages trial, these witnesses also testified about Joe's 1997 roll call. For example, Stratford applied unsuccessfully in 1997. Romanello went to the first day of the 1997 roll call but left. Thereafter, she went back, was interviewed, but was not hired. The district court entered a damages order on August 12, 1998, and awarded back pay to Stratford from 1990-95, to Coyle from 1991-95, to Romanello from 1989-96, and to Munoz from 1989-96.
The district court also quoted the testimony of owner Grace Weiss who explained that she "cannot explain the predominance of male servers but perhaps it had to do with the very heavy trays to be carried, the ambience of the restaurant and the extremely low turnover in servers." Id. at 732. The district court rejected Joe's "heavy tray" and "low turnover" explanations, and found that the true reason Joe's had only male servers was it excluded women to create a fine-dining ambience with tuxedo-clad male servers. Id. The district court found the evidence established that "women have the physical strength to carry serving trays" and that Joe's own witnesses, including Maitre d' Arneson and Captain Sutton, had "attested to the fact that women are capable of performing every aspect of a food server's job at Joe's." Id. The district court also found the "low turnover" rate did not explain the absence of women food servers. Id. Even with Joe's "low turnover," there were still 108 new food servers hired between 1986 and 1990, but none was female.
Id. at 732 (alterations by the district court).