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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. VF Jeanswear, LP

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 5, 2017

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Petitioner,
v.
VF Jeanswear, LP, Respondent.

          ORDER

          Neil V.Wake Senior United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is the Application Why an Administrative Subpoena Should Not Be Enforced (Doc. 1), Subpoena No. PHX-15-041, issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on August 12, 2015. (Doc. 1.) The Court has considered the parties' briefing, oral argument, and supplemental briefs. (Docs. 1, 7, 11, 16, 17, 23, 26, 28.)

         I. BACKGROUND

         On July 3, 2014, Lori Bell filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC (“Charge”) against VF Jeanswear, LP (“Jeanswear”), alleging discrimination based on sex and age and violation of the Equal Pay Act. Bell stated:

- I had been working for Respondent since September 15, 1985, and last position held was Executive Sales Representative. On February 28, 2014, I was forced to resign my position due to being demoted and harassed and no reason given. . . . I was offered a position with less pay and less responsibilities. . . . I requested a lateral move but it was denied. . . . I was also subjected to harassing comments to include but not limited to my manager (WL) stating “isn't great to see all they young men being promoted in top positions and not gray hairs walking around like us”. I was also subjected to less pay than similarly situated males performing substantially the same work. During my tenure with the Respondent I was not offered any higher level position than Executive Sales Representative, rather demoted to a lesser position and significantly less pay. Females are not afforded the opportunity in top level positions. Top level positions are male dominated.
- I believe I and a class of females have been discriminated against because of sex (female), in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. I have also been discriminated against because of age (48), in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as amended. I have also been discriminated against because of sex (female), in violation of the Equal Pay Act, as amended.

         On June 30, 2014, before filing the Charge, Bell filed a lawsuit against Jeanswear in Maricopa County Superior Court, alleging gender and age discrimination as well as violations of equal wage statutes. On August 28, 2014, Jeanswear removed the lawsuit to federal court. On December 18, 2014, upon Bell's request, the EEOC issued Bell a right-to-sue notice, which indicated that it was unlikely the EEOC would be able to complete its processing within 180 days from the filing of the Charge, and it would continue administrative processing of her gender and age discrimination claims.

         On November 12, 2014, the EEOC sent Jeanswear its First Request for Information. On February 16, 2015, Jeanswear responded with substantial information, but objected to Request No. 10 on grounds that it was unduly burdensome and not relevant to the issues involved in the Charge. On March 26, 2015, the EEOC sent Jeanswear a modified Request No. 10. On April 13, 2015, Jeanswear renewed its objection, contending that even as narrowed, the request sought information not reasonably related to the Charge. On July 29, 2015, Jeanswear received the EEOC's first subpoena and on July 30, 2015, submitted a petition to revoke the subpoena. On August 6, 2015, the EEOC withdrew the subpoena. On August 21, 2015, Jeanswear received a second subpoena from the EEOC, which was a corrected version of the first subpoena. On August 26, 2015, Jeanswear submitted a petition to revoke the second subpoena.

         Subpoena No. PHX-15-041, issued August 12, 2015 (“Subpoena”) directs Respondent to:

         Submit an electronic database identifying all supervisors, managers, and executive employees at VF Jeanswear's facilities during the relevant period, January 1, 2012, to present. For each individual, provide:

a. employee identification number, if applicable,
b. name,
c. age and sex, d. facility name and location,
e. date of hire,
f. position(s) held and date in each position,
g. if no longer employed, provide date of termination, and reason for termination,
h. last known home address, e-mail, SSN, and telephone number.

         The EEOC asserts that the information sought is relevant to Bell's individual and class claims regarding lack of promotion opportunities for women and gender-based pay disparities. The EEOC also contends that the information will provide the identities of witnesses and others who may be victims of disparate treatment and may also help the EEOC formulate other requests for information. In its reply brief, the EEOC stated it is willing to narrow ...


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