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December 19, 2011

Fire District’s adverse impact on another protected class defense rejected

Fire District’s adverse impact on another protected class defense rejected
Source: Justia Reports: NAACP v North Hudson Reg’l Fire and Rescue, USCA, Third Circuit, Docket 10-3695

The municipalities that make up the fire protection district had populations that were 69.6% Hispanic, 22.9% white, and 3.4% African-American. In 2008, the district employed 302 firefighters: 240 whites, 58 Hispanics, and two African-Americans.

When this litigation began, the district sought to fill 35 to 40 new firefighter positions. Six Hispanic applicants earned passing scores on the firefighter exam and satisfied a residency requirement. Based on their scores they ranked 21, 25, 26, 45, 49, and 70 on the residents-only list. They would rank much lower if non-residents were included on the same list.

The NAACP successfully sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, claiming that the residency requirement was invalid as having a disparate impact on African-American applicants. The fire district and the Hispanic applicants appealed.

The Third Circuit affirmed, rejecting the district's claims of concerns about impact on Hispanic applicants.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca3/10-3965/103965p-2011-12-12.html

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