The closely decided June 2009 Supreme Court ruling in favor of the white firemen from New Haven, Ct., has stirred discussion on the topic of race discrimination in the workplace. It also established a new legal perspective on how employers must approach race discrimination policies and anti-discrimination practices in the workplace.
The plaintiffs in the case were a group of white firemen who argued in a civil lawsuit that the defendants in the case – city officials in New Haven – violated their rights by dismissing the results of a promotions test that showed favorable scores for the white firemen, but not for minorities. The city officials argued that the test seemed favorable to one race and they were seeking to avoid a lawsuit by dismissing the results.
According to The Washington Post , the case drew extra media attention because President Obama’s recent Supreme Court appointee and newest member of the court, Judge Sonia Sotomayer, had been involved with the case before it reached the high court.
Here are some key facts about the race discrimination case:
- The firemen said city officials essentially denied their promotions based on their race.
- City officials said they were concerned that the test might potentially be seen to favor whites when the test results showed that no blacks and only two Hispanics qualified for promotion.
- The Court’s decision did not overrule any aspects of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides protection for employees from employment discrimination.
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