Frank Ricci, et al. v. John DeStefano, et al.
Constitutional Law, Equal Protection, Civil Rights, Labor and Employment Law
This case presents recurring issues regarding proper application of Title VII and the
Equal Protection Clause to the civil service. Petitioners, New Haven firefighters and
lieutenants, qualified for promotion to command positions pursuant to job-related
examinations and merit selection rules mandated by local law. Citing the race of the
successful candidates and Title VII's "disparate impact" provision, city officials
refused to promote the petitioners.
1. When an otherwise valid civil service selection process yields unintended racially
disproportionate results, may municipalities reject the results and the successful
candidates for reasons of race absent the demonstration required by 42 U.S.C. §
2. Does 42 U.S.C. §2000e-2(l) which makes it unlawful for employers "to adjust the
scores of, use different cutoff scores for, or otherwise alter the results of,
employment related tests on the basis of race ... ," permit employers to refuse to act
on the results of such tests for reasons of race?
3. If, citing the public interest in eradicating political patronage, racism and
corruption in civil service, a state's highest court mandates strict compliance with
local laws requiring race-blind competitive merit selection procedures, does 42
U.S.C. §2000e-7 permit federal courts to relieve municipalities from compliance with
Karen Lee Torre
Law Offices of Norman A. Pattis LLC
New Haven, CT
To view PDF files listed on this page you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader