The U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Seventh Circuit has determined that the mayor of Indianapolis and other city officials
can be held liable to three white police lieutenants whose constitutional
rights to equal protection were violated when they were denied promotions.
Black officers who ranked lower on the eligibility list were promoted
instead – giving rise to the white officers claims of “reverse
discrimination.” The officer’s
Title VIIclaims are still pending.
The city officials claimed qualified immunity based on a 1978 consent decree
between the Justice Department and Indianapolis requiring them to take
race into account when making promotions. While the consent decree set
goals for increasing the percentage of African American police officers
in all ranks, the 7th Circuit held that the federal court was correct
in finding that it did not “mandate the promotions at issue.”
The 7th Circuit also determined that the federal court correctly denied
immunity to the officials. Even though the consent decree set recruitment
and hiring goals for black officers, promotions were to be based on relevant
standards and criteria, applied without regard to race or color.
The Court of Appeals also reasoned that the city’s provision for
race-neutral promotional exams would be undermined if race could be used
as a criterion for promotions. As such, the white officers claims under
42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 were allowed to proceed.
Title VII and other race discrimination laws protect against discrimination
based on the color of your skin, even where you are not a racial minority.
Both discrimination and “reverse discrimination” cases may
arise when an employer takes an adverse employment action against an employee
based on race such as a termination, failure to hire, or failure to promote.
If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination based on your
race or color, you need to take immediate action. For more information, contact
The Buckley Law Firm, LLC, dedicated to protecting employee’s rights.