Reverse Discrimination – Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S.Ct. 2658 (2009)

Reverse Discrimination – Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S.Ct. 2658 (2009)

This case is about reverse discrimination . Reverse discrimination occurs when a person who belongs to a dominant or majority group is treated in an unfavorable manner. Under affirmative action many employers set aside a certain percentage of job vacancies for blacks, women and other groups. Such practices are challenged by other job candidates, usually white males, claiming that they are discriminated against on the basis of their race or sex in violation of Title VII of the of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII). Section 703(j) of the Title VII states: “Nothing in this title shall be interpreted to require any employer… to grant preferential treatment to any individual […]

BFOQ and Gender Discrimination – Dothard v. Rawlinson, 433 U.S. 321 (1977)

BFOQ and Gender Discrimination – Dothard v. Rawlinson, 433 U.S. 321 (1977)

This US Supreme Court case is about bona fide occupational qualification defense (BFOQ) and gender discrimination . Dianne Rawlinson was a 22 year old college graduate with major in correctional psychology. When she applied for a job in one of Alabama maximum security correctional institutions her application was rejected, because she failed to meet the minimum 120 pound weight and 5 feet 2 inches height requirements established by a state statute. She filed a class action lawsuit challenging the Alabama statute as discriminatory under the Civil Rights Act. While the lawsuit was pending the Alabama authorities adopted an administrative regulation, establishing gender criteria for ‘contact’ positions in maximum security prisons. […]

Discrimination in the Workplace: Facially Neutral Employment Policies May Lead to Unlawful Discrimination – Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971)

Discrimination in the Workplace: Facially Neutral Employment Policies May Lead to Unlawful Discrimination – Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971)

This US Supreme Court case is about discrimination in the workplace, which does not look like discrimination at first sight. It involves using facially neutral employment policies that have a disparate impact and lead to unlawful discrimination at work. A class action lawsuit was brought by Afro-American employees against their employer – Duke Power Company. The plaintiffs alleged that their employer used discriminatory practices when required a high school education or passing a standardized general intelligence test as a condition of employment, or transfer/promotion. The question which the Supreme Court had to decide is whether an employer was violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Act) when […]

Sexual Harassment: Can You Be Protected Even If You Don’t Speak Out? – Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville, 129 S.Ct. 846 (2009)

This U.S. Supreme Court case is about an important question on sexual harassment, namely, can one be protected against retaliation by employer, based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if she doesn’t speak out about sexual harassment on her own initiative, but as a response to an official inquiry? (Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville, 129 S.Ct. 846 (2009) The Court’s answer is “yes.” In 2002 Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee (Metro) investigated rumors of sexual harassment by Metro School District’s employee relations director, Gene Hughes. When during the investigation Vicky Crawford, a 30-year Metro employee, was asked about cases of sexual harassment, […]

Is Nepotism Always Illegal? – Kotch v. Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners, 330 U.S. 552 (1947)

Is Nepotism Always Illegal? – Kotch v. Board of River Port Pilot Commissioners, 330 U.S. 552 (1947)

This U.S. Supreme Court case is about possible legal exceptions to nepotism in hiring. Although generally speaking the nepotism in hiring would be a violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, in some very limited cases, according to the Court, it could be to some extent legal. The case is about Louisiana state practices of appointing candidates to the state positions of river pilots. Under the Louisiana law, all ships going to and from the port of New Orleans through the Mississippi river should be guided by the river pilots who are state officers. In order to be appointed to a position of pilot a candidate should […]