RICCI ET AL. v. DESTEFANO ET AL.

New Haven, Conn. Employment Discrimination

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New Haven, Conn. (City), uses objective examinations to identify those firefighters best qualified for promotion. When the results of such an exam to fill vacant lieutenant and captain positions showed that white candidates had outperformed minority candidates, a rancorous public debate ensued. Confronted with arguments both for and against certifying the test results—and threats of a lawsuit eitherway—the City threw out the results based on the statistical racial disparity. Petitioners, white and Hispanic firefighters who passe dthe exams but were denied a chance at promotions by the City’s re-fusal to certify the test results, sued the City and respondent officials,alleging that discarding the test results discriminated against them based on their race in violation of, inter alia, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The defendants responded that had they certified the test results, they could have faced Title VII liability for adopting a practice having a disparate impact on minority firefighters. The District Court granted summary judgment for the defendants, and the Second Circuit affirmed.

Held: The City’s action in discarding the tests violated Title VII.

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Reference Info:Decision | Federal, U.S. Supreme Court | United States


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