DAVID J. PALMER, DC 417834
WILLIAM B. FENTON, DC 414990
ANAT EHRLICH, CA 151836
Attorneys
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20035-5968
Telephone: (202) 616-9614
Facsimile: (202) 514-1005

DEBRA W. YANG
United States Attorney
for the Central District of California
LEON W. WEIDMAN
Chief, Civil Division
300 N. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Telephone: (213) 894-2400

Attorneys for Plaintiff
United States of America

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,      

v.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, Defendant.

CASE NO.:

COMPLAINT

CIVIL RIGHTS

 (42 U.S.C.§§ 2000e, et seq.)

JURY TRIAL DEMAND


Plaintiff, United States of America, alleges:

1. This action is brought on behalf of the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000e,  et  seq. ("Title VII").

2. This Court has jurisdiction over the action under 42 U.S.C. 2000e- 5(f), 42 U.S.C. 2000e-6(b), 28 U.S.C. 1343 (a)(3) and 1345.

3. Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA") is a governmental agency of the County of Los Angeles established pursuant to the California Public Utilities Code 1300050.2, 130051.13 and 130051.14.

4. Defendant MTA is a person within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. 2000e(a), and an employer within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. 2000e(b).

5. Defendant MTA has pursued and continues to pursue policies and practices that discriminate against employees and applicants for employment on the basis of religion, in violation of 703(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a), among other ways, by:

(a) failing or refusing reasonably to accommodate employees and applicants for employment who, in accordance with their religious observances, practices and/or beliefs, need religious accommodation because they are unable to comply with a requirement followed by defendant MTA that employees in its Operations Division be available to work weekends, on any shift, at any location;
(b) failing or refusing to hire applicants for employment who, in accordance with their religious observances, practices and/or beliefs, need religious accommodation because they are unable to comply with a requirement followed by defendant MTA that employees in its Operations Division be available to work weekends, on any shift, at any location; and
(c) failing or refusing to take appropriate action to eliminate the discriminatory policies and practices and to remedy the effects of those policies and practices.

6. The policies and practices of defendant MTA, described above, constitute a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment by employees and applicants for employment of equal employment opportunities without discrimination on the basis of religion in violation of 707 of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-6. Unless restrained by an order of this Court, defendant MTA will continue to pursue policies and practices that are the same as or similar to those alleged in this Complaint.

7. Defendant MTA has discriminated against Henry Asher, who was employed as a Bus Operator Trainee at the MTA, on the basis of his religion, Jewish, in violation of 703(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a), among other ways, by:

(a) failing or refusing reasonably to accommodate Mr. Asher's religious observance, practice and/or belief of observing the Sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday;
(b) terminating Mr. Asher's employment because of his religious observance, practice and/or belief of observing the Sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday; and
(c) failing or refusing to take appropriate action to remedy the effects of the discriminatory treatment against Mr. Asher.

8. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") received a timely charge filed by Mr. Asher (Charge No. 151-99-0961) in which he alleged that he had been discriminated against in employment because of his religion by defendant MTA. Pursuant to 706 of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5, the EEOC investigated the charge and found reasonable cause to believe that defendant MTA discriminated against Mr. Asher based on his religion. The EEOC further found reasonable cause to believe that defendant MTA has and continues to engage in a pattern or practice of discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on religion. The EEOC attempted unsuccessfully to achieve through conciliation a voluntary resolution of the matter, and subsequently referred the charge to the Department of Justice.

9. All conditions precedent to the filing of suit have been performed or have occurred.

WHEREFORE, plaintiff United States prays that this Court grant the following relief:

(a) Enjoin defendant MTA, its officers, agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active participation with them from discriminating on the basis of religion, and specifically from failing or refusing to:

(i) provide reasonable accommodation to employees who, in accordance with their religious observances, practices and/or beliefs, require accommodation because they are unable to comply with the requirement followed by defendant MTA that employees in its Operations Division be available to work weekends, on any shift, at any location;

(ii) provide equal employment opportunities to applicants for employment who, in accordance with their religious observances, practices and/or beliefs, require reasonable accommodation because they are unable to comply with the requirement followed by defendant MTA that employees in its Operations Division be available to work weekends, on any shift, at any location;

(iii) adopt a policy designed reasonably to accommodate the religious observances, practices and beliefs of defendant MTA's employees and applicants for employment who require religious accommodation; and

(iv) take other appropriate nondiscriminatory measures to overcome the effects of the discrimination.

(b) Provide make-whole remedial relief, including backpay with interest, rightful place employment and accompanying benefits including retroactive seniority, to compensate individual victims who have suffered loss as a result of the unlawful employment policies and practices of defendant MTA alleged in this Complaint; and

(c) Provide make-whole remedial relief to Henry Asher, including backpay with interest, rightful place employment and accompanying benefits including retroactive seniority, to compensate him for the loss he has suffered as a result of defendant MTA's discriminatory conduct alleged in this Complaint; and

(d) Award damages to Henry Asher to fully compensate him for pain and suffering caused by defendant MTA's discriminatory conduct alleged in this Complaint, pursuant to and within the statutory limitations of Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. 1981a. Plaintiff United States prays for such additional relief as justice may require, together with its costs and disbursements in this action.

JURY DEMAND

The United States hereby demands a trial by jury of all issues so triable pursuant to Rule 38 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Section 102 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. 1981a.

JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General

R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

By:
_________________________________
DAVID J. PALMER
Chief

_________________________________
WILLIAM B. FENTON
Deputy Chief
ANAT EHRLICH
Attorney
EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION SECTION
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice

DEBRA W. YANG
United States Attorney
Central District of California

By:

_________________________________
LEON W. WEIDMAN
Assistant United States Attorney
Chief, Civil Division