Third Circuit: Disparate Impact of Newark, NJ’s Residency Requirement

Third Circuit: Disparate Impact of Newark, NJ’s Residency Requirement

In Meditz v. City of Newark (PDF) [an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers], the Third Circuit concluded that the City of Newark, New Jersey's residency requirement may have unlawful disparate impact on non-Hispanic white applicants.  The case was brought Gregory Meditz, an attorney acting pro se.  Meditz alleged that the City's residency requirement disparately impacted white, non-Hispanics and, as a result, white, non-Hispanics were under-represented in the City's workforce.

Meditz, a white male, applied for a job as an Analyst with the City of Newark, New Jersey.  He was rejected for the job because he lived in Rutherford, New Jersey and a City ordinance required that non-uniformed employees live within City limits.  Meditz filed suit, alleging that the City's residency requirement negatively impacted the hiring of white, non-Hispanics.

In support of his suit, Meditz provided statistical information that he'd gathered from publicly available sources.  Newark argued that the disparity reflected by the statistics were not sufficiently substantial.  The federal district court agreed with the City and found that the statistical evidence Meditz presented did not "constitute sufficient evidence of a significantly discriminatory hiring pattern."  The Third Circuit Court of Appeals did not agree and reversed.

The Third Circuit found, instead, that the statistics showed that the percentage of white, non-Hispanics in Newark's non-uniformed workforce was lower than the percentage that would be expected based on Newark's general population.  The case was remanded for the District Court to analyze the evidence in accordance with the correct standard, as described in the Third Circuit's decision.

Meditz v. City of Newark, No. 10-2442 (3d Cir. Sept. 28, 2011) (PDF).

 

For more on disparate impact, see also:

9th Cir. on ADA and Drug Addiction

Overview of the Risks of Employment Testing

The Link Between Race and Obesity-Disparate Impact Waiting to Happen?

EEOC's Proposed Regs for Age Discrimination Disparate-Impact Claims

Read more Labor and Employment Law insights from Margaret (Molly) DiBianca in the Delaware Employment Law Blog.  Ms. DiBianca is an attorney with Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor, LLP.

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