Sample Paper on Johnson V. The Transportation Agency 480 U.S. 616

Johnson V. The Transportation Agency 480 U.S. 616


Equality has been an issue of concern in various workplaces since time immemorial. Research shows that since 1970s, organizations, agencies and other firms were discriminative when hiring employees. The disparity was mostly noted in areas such as gender, race, religion and sometimes country of origin. The research, notably proved that the most common form of employment discrimination was that based on gender, and it specifically targeted women. This information states that despite the fact that 36.4% of women constitute the total labor force, only a smaller percentage of 22. 4% form part of agency employees (U.S Supreme Court, 1987). All these women also serve the lower duties such as secretarial, clerical work and cleaners, areas that have traditionally been taken up or rather preserved for women.

To be able to overcome to change the working condition with the aim of empowering more women, the transport agency of Santa Clara came up with an affirmative action procedure for effectively representing women, disabled people and minority in the workplace. This law was to help in the representation of people on working organizations based on race, sex, religion and other categories that have led to discrimination in the past decades (U.S Supreme Court, 1987). The law also aimed at empowering women and ensuring that no employment organization or agency deny people jobs just because they are women.

Based on the above argument, this paper aims ant analyzing the case of Johnson V. The Transportation Agency 480 U.S. 616, of 1987. It looks at whether there were disparities when an employment decision was made in which a woman was chosen over a man.


The case between Johnson and The Transportation Agency arose based on the issue that the firm decided to pick a female employee and not Johnson. The conflict comes due to an interview for a vacant job position in the agency (University of New Mexico, 2014). There were twelve selected persons for the interview. Out of these twelve, two were women and ten were men. The final two were Paul Johnson and Diana Joyce, who were also the leading candidates for the job. The interview results showed that Johnson had the highest score compared to Joyce.

However, the latter individual was chosen for the post instead of the former (U.S Supreme Court, 1987). This created a conflict between Johnson and the agency. He argued that the company failed to give him the job based on his gender. The organization on the other hand, defended their move sitting that they were trying to follow the affirmative action set for the purpose of bridging the gap of disparities between men and women in various employment areas. Johnson continued to argue that the law states clearly that an individual is supposed to be denied any job position based on gender.

Another conflict came as a result of Joyce having been given the Job even though it is Johnson who had the highest points from the interviewing panel (University of New Mexico, 2014). The agency argued that it was just following the law and had no ill intentions of discriminating the individual based on gender issues.

The holding in the case between Johnson and the agency is important because it aimed to serve a national purpose. The court upheld the decision made by the transport industry to employee Joyce instead of Johnson because the affirmative action was aimed at considering an individual in a disadvantaged group. The court ruled in favor of the agency because it found out that the agency did not violate any law (U.S Supreme Court Media, 1986). The court argued that an antidiscriminative action may act in helping people from the marginalized group, like is the case for women’s employment in the country at that time.

Hence this act of the judiciary to hold the case served as an indication that even the lawyers are determined to ensure that the gender disparity gap in employment agencies are filled. They also intended to send a message that alienating women for various job opportunities will not be taken lightly and is punishable in a court of law. Their opinion also aimed at indicating that affirmative actions are constitutional (U.S Supreme Court Media, 1986). Looking at the law passed by the Transport agency was aimed at protecting women, minorities and the disabled. It did not in any circumstance state that men should be alienated when an employment opportunity arises. However, the action plan required that job opportunities are availed to women in order to be able to fill the gap, even if it technically means that the employer has to overlook the best qualified male candidate.

As stated above, the Transport agency did not impermissibly deny Jonson employment based on his gender. The organization was aimed at following a law that was aimed at employing more women, thereby balancing the labor force statistics between men and women. It is, therefore, notable that the selection board of the firm did not violate any law. As specified by the US Supreme Court (1987) argument in this case, any agency using the affirmative action to help provide job opportunities to an individual form any of  the disadvantaged groups (women, disabled, and minorities) does not violate any law. In light with this argument, even Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was not violated since this provision also indicates that job opportunities should not aim at favoring just one gender, which has been the case for several decades.

Many workplaces have the tendency of employing more men as compared to women. The females in these areas are considered for lower posts such as secretarial, other front office as well as manual labor, while the top managerial positions are set aside for men. Some other companies also alienate women and individuals based on their race, religion and country of origin (Urofsky, 1991). They normally cite the reason that people from any of the mentioned divides possess low intelligent quotients, have no work ethics, and lack proper education even if it is not the case. There are other organizations that do not employ people with disabilities no matter how qualified and educated they are.

This case will therefore affect gender relations in many ways than one. Some companies will tend to employ more women than men (Legal Information Institute (LII), 2014). Other firms will keep employing men for higher post and preserve the lower positions for women, whereas some will tend to balance the gender disparities and try to balance the number of men and women working for them. This case might also lead to misunderstanding between male and female employees with one faction believing that one gender is favored more than the other.

The best way to apply for resolving conflicts of gender nature in all work employment is for the organization to be specific for the type of a person they need to fill the vacant post. They should clearly state that they need a male or female candidate. In this sense only people of either gender will apply, be interviewed and hired for the vacancy (Urofsky, 1991). While hiring individuals for a post, the managers in an organization must aim at balancing men and women for various job categories. They should have both genders for higher as well as lower posts.

In an instance where a firm is faced with the challenge of deciding between a man and a woman, they can decide not to publish the results of the interview so as to avoid unnecessary conflict between the agency and the man or woman in question. If need be, employment decisions should be explained to the winning candidate, why the runner up is considered instead.


Gender discrimination has been witnessed in many workplaces for a long time. Even thought the scenario is slowly changing due to the empowerment of women, some religious groups, races and ethnicities still discriminate against women. Many governments have come up with plans to help equalze gender imbalances in various sectors. Some of the laws used in the nations have sparked an argument as violation of human rights in the eyes of men, especially when a woman and not a male is considered for  given posts. The judges presiding over such cases should be wise enough when giving their verdict in such cases.
















Legal Information Institute (LII). 2014). Johnson V. The Transportation Agency 480 U.S. 616. Retrieved from

University of New Mexico. (2014). Civil rights: affirmative action gender based criteria consistent with title VII. Johnson V. The Transportation Agency, Santa Clara County, California. Retrieved from

Urofsky, M. (1991). A Conflict of Rights: The Supreme Court and Affirmative Action. New York, NY: Scribners.

US Supreme Court. (1987). Johnson V. The Transportation Agency 480 U.S. 616. Retrieved from

U.S Supreme Court Media. (1986). Johnson V. The Transportation Agency 480 U.S. 616. Retrieved from