Litigation Experience

Before Steve Randels became a full time mediator, he was a litigator for thirty years with Community Legal Services programs and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Click Background link for detailed employment information. He participated in hundreds of court cases involving a wide range of legal issues. Many of these cases were class actions and raised precedent setting issues.

At a meeting on November 5, 2007, the Commissioners of the EEOC issued a resolution honoring his career including his accomplishments as a litigator. The resolution states in part:

“[D]uring his exemplary service as an attorney with the Commission, [he] successfully challenged unlawful discriminatory practices in many significant individual and class action cases which brought relief to thousands of individuals and resulted in millions of dollars in benefits to victims of discrimination.”

Selected Court Cases

EEOC v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

A U.S. District Court ruled that the defendant violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it terminated an employee with monocular vision after a minor accident. The court reinstated and awarded back pay to the employee.

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EEOC v. Pape Lift, Inc.

A precedent-setting decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict finding the defendant had terminated a 24-year employee because of his age and awarding $377,267 in back pay, liquidated damages, and front pay.

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EEOC v. Associated Grocers, Inc., and Teamsters Local #117

A class-action equal pay case resulted in a ruling that a collective bargaining agreement between the defendants discriminated against female warehouse workers when it merged them with a group of male workers but grandfathered a one-dollar-per-hour difference in pay previously received by the men.

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EEOC v. The Erection Co.

This class action successfully challenged the defendant's practice of circumventing the hiring hall provisions of its collective bargaining agreement to deny equal employment opportunities to black ironworkers.

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EEOC v. The Board of Trustees of the Western Washington Floor Covering Trust

This action successfully challenged a joint company and union benefits program that excluded pregnancy-related medical coverage for the spouses of male members but no similar exclusion from coverage for the spouses of female members.

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EEOC v. General Telephone Co. of the Northwest

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedent-setting decision, reversing a trial court's decision in favor of the defendant in a case claiming the company excluded women from higher-paying craft and management positions throughout its operations in three states.

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Thorn v. Thompson

This action successfully challenged the failure of the Department of Social and Health Services to apply a statute that permitted the department to waive overpayments of public assistance when they resulted from department error.

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Canton v. Spokane School District #81

Canton is one of three class actions that successfully challenged a practice among school districts in Washington of charging fees to students attending public schools for some classes and excluding those who could not pay.

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Hanson v. Hutt

The Washington Supreme Court ruled that a statute disqualifying pregnant women from receiving unemployment compensation was unconstitutional, resulting in an award of $2,668,706 in lost benefits to 5442 women.

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Allen v. Employment Security Department

The Washington Supreme Court found that the department's practice of applying two separate penalty periods barring receipt of unemployment compensation benefits consecutively rather than concurrently violated the Employment Security Act.

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Amburn v. Daly

The Washington Supreme Court ruled that the Employment Security Department violated state laws when it terminated unemployment compensation benefits to a class of 3,000 recipients by retroactively applying amendments to the state's unemployment compensation program.

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Thorn v. Richardson et al.

The U.S. District Court ruled that federal and state regulations giving a priority to unemployed fathers in households receiving public assistance for enrollment in job-training programs over unemployed mothers receiving the same assistance violated several laws barring discrimination on the basis of gender and were unconstitutional.

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