For Immediate Release

Contact:
Shari Ireton
University of Washington School of Law

February 23, 2006

UW Law Professor's Discrimination Case Remanded by US Supreme Court

An employment discrimination case brought to the U.S. Supreme Court by University of Washington School of Law professor Eric Schnapper was unanimously overturned last Tuesday.

The case, Ash v. Tyson Foods, Inc., involved a dispute over whether white managers can be sued for referring to black employees as "boys."  The Supreme Court overturned the appeals court decision on the premise that the term "boy" alone was not evidence of discrimination.

The decision, one of the first actions with new Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, was in favor of petitioners Anthony Ash and John Hilton, former Tyson employees.  The two men were passed over for management positions within Tyson by a white manager who called them "boys".  Ash and Hilton were originally awarded $1.75 million by a jury, but a judge threw out that decision.  The case has been remanded back to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta and the lower court has been ordered to reconsider the case.

The court's decision can be read at: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/05pdf/05-379.pdf