allow people to access courts, rather than shut the courthouse doors
New York, NY (Vocus) December 2, 2009
Asserting that the law against workplace discrimination should “allow people to access courts, rather than shut the courthouse doors,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that dramatically limited the time within victims of workplace discrimination can file a claim.
In Lewis, et. al. v. Chicago, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that firefighters who wanted to challenge a promotions test they thought was racially discriminatory had to file a lawsuit within 300 days of getting the test results. The firefighters claimed they should be permitted to file a lawsuit within 300 days of the time the fire department made hiring decisions based on those test results.
“The workplace discrimination laws should be read to allow people to access courts, rather than shut the courthouse doors,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Our nation’s employment discrimination laws protect against policies which effectively deny job opportunities on the basis of race, religion, gender, and national origin. Each time a discriminatory practice is used, it has a new impact on employees individually and a new impact on the community as a whole.”
The League’s brief argues that the lower court’s approach – to allow the firefighters only one chance after the tests results come back to file a lawsuit – was flawed.
“The firefighters must have appropriate access to the courts to ensure that discriminatory practices are ended, not enshrined,” said Mr. Foxman. “And they should have the opportunity to go to court each time the allegedly discriminatory promotional test is used as a basis for hiring and promotional decision-making.”
ADL has joined in an amicus brief with more than 30 of civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Immigration Law Center.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
Myrna Shinbaum (212) 885-7747
Todd Gutnick (212) 885-7755