Second Circuit victory in employment discrimination case

CIR’s long-running battle on behalf of New York City school building superintendents discriminated against by an agreement entered into by the City and the federal government reached a milestone today, but by no means its final one.  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 139-page ruling that settles one large point in CIR’s favor, but leaves a number of crucial questions to be decided later in the litigation.

The point settled in our favor is that the Supreme Court’s recent holding in the New Haven firefighters case, Ricci v. DeStefano,applies to the preferential treatment the City gave, at the expense of our clients, to minority and female superintendents on account of their race and sex.  That ruling paves the way for favorable findings in the district court, to which the Second Circuit remanded the case for further proceedings.

One issue the Second Circuit avoided answering was whether the City’s preferential treatment violated not just Title VII (a federal statute) but the U.S. Constitution.  The answer to that question will require a second (or rather third) visit to the Second Circuit after the remand proceedings in the district court are over.  Our ultimate aim in this case, which involves nearly every aspect of employment discrimination law, is to bring the many constitutional questions it raises before the Supreme Court, and achieve a precedent that goes even further beyond Ricci.