New York, NY, May 24, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed a unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning unfair limits on the time in which victims of workplace discrimination can file a claim.
The ruling means that individuals will have a period of time to complain following a discriminatory action which directly impacts them, rather than being required to challenge a broader discriminatory policy which could impact them at some future date.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We are gratified by the High Court's unanimous ruling that when an employer's hiring practice has a discriminatory impact, the victim should be able to challenge that result in court.
Our nation's employment discrimination laws protect against policies that effectively deny job opportunities on the basis of race, religion, gender, and national origin. These laws are critically important, because each time a discriminatory practice is used, it has a new, direct impact on an individual employee as well as a new impact on the community as a whole.
The Supreme Court's decision underscores the core principle that anti-discrimination laws are meant to allow access to the judicial system for victims of discrimination-- not shut the courthouse doors on them.
Lewis, et. al. v.Chicago involved firefighters who challenged the method for hiring employees based on a promotions test they alleged was racially discriminatory. The city argued that the law required the aggrieved firefighters to bring a claim within 300 days of the announcement of the discriminatory hiring process. The firefighters claimed they should be permitted to file a lawsuit within 300 days of the time the fire department made a hiring decision in accordance with the hiring process.
ADL joined in an amicus brief on behalf of the firefighters with more than 30 civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women's Law Center, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the NAACP, and the National Immigration Law Center.