SPLC: Landmark Cases: Dothard vs. Rawlinson

In 1977, Dothard vs. Rawlinson was brought to the Supreme Court where Morris Dees argued the cause for the Rawlinson in conjunction with Pamela S. Horowitz. Dianne Rawlinson was denied a job as a "correctional counselor" or prison guard because she failed to meet the minimum requirement of 120 pounds to qualify for the job. Justice White concluded that catching no obvious sign of discrimination, he dissented in Dothard since Rawlinson does not meet the requirements for a prison guard anyways. From Justice White's opinion, Rawlinson seems to have applied in a place entirely ill-fitted for her height, weight, and sex. However, the standards of Alabama for qualification in terms of height and weight are shown in statistics to exlude 40% or the female sex and yet, only 1% of the male sex. Filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Rawlinson received a right-to-sue letter and challenged the Alabama standards on behalf of herself and other women similarly situated. The Alabama Board of Corrections, to which Rawlinson applied, houses four major all-male penitentiaries whose facilities are largely open and communal. Justice Stewart added in his opinion that 56 out of 435 employees for the Alabama Board of Corrections were women who had positions not within contact of the inmates. Although meeting the standard requirements, women could compete equally with men at about 25% of correctional counselor jobs. Since being a correctional counselor requires close contact with inmates, it seems as though the employment of women should be low. Meeting the requirements are no problem since there is no written examination and only an Alabama driver's license and a highschool education are required, it is just the precaution on the state's part that no damage comes upon itself while employing young females.

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