In 1973, we filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of African American employees of the U.S. Steel factory in Fairless Hills, Pa., to stop discrimination in apprenticeship programs, promotions, and work assignments. Non-white employees were persistently assigned the least pleasant jobs, where they received no training and had no opportunities for advancement. As a result, promotions to foreman and other management positions for African American employees were nearly nonexistent.
Following five years of discovery and extensive pretrial litigation, we finally brought the case to trial in the District Court in 1978 and secured a ruling in our clients’ favor. We reached a settlement four years later, securing $2.8 million in damages and attorney fees for 497 class members, and a commitment to promote qualified African American employees.