Supreme Court to Hear Reverse-Discrimination Case
21 Apr 09 | CSM
In what could become a major showdown over the use of race as a factor in hiring, the US Supreme Court on Wednesday is set to hear a reverse-discrimination case filed by white and Hispanic firefighters who claim they were passed over for promotion because they aren’t African-American.
At issue in Ricci v. DeStefano is whether city officials in New Haven, Conn., acted legally when they threw out the results of a promotion exam because no black candidates scored high enough to be considered for a management job.
Officials said they were worried that black applicants might file a discrimination lawsuit against the city if they went ahead and promoted the white and Hispanic firefighters who scored well on the exam.
Instead, the test results for all candidates were thrown out. As a result, in 2004, the high-scoring white and Hispanic firefighters sued for discrimination, claiming they would have been promoted to lieutenant and captain positions if they were African-American.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to hire, fire, or promote workers based on race or skin color. The law also authorizes victims of discrimination to sue an employer if a promotion test exerts a disparate impact on minority workers. >>>