Reverse Discrimination, Title VII, and the Equal Protection Clause

Today the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a potentially interesting opinion.  I am travelling and unable to read the case.  The summary, however, is intriguing.  Does this case raise a Ricci v. DeStefano-like conflict between EEOC standards and federal constitutional law?  Please leave a comment if the case is of interest.

082485P.pdf 09/03/2009 Donna Humphries v. Pulaski County, etc. U.S. Court of Appeals Case No: 08-2485 and No: 08-2594 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock [PUBLISHED] [Gruender, Author, with Wollman and Melloy, Circuit Judges]
Civil case - Employment discrimination. Evidence that an employer followed an affirmative action plan in declining to hire plaintiff, a white employee, for assistant principal positions may constitute direct evidence of unlawful discrimination; if the employer defends by asserting that it acted pursuant to a valid affirmative action plan, the question then becomes whether the affirmative action plan is valid under Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause; plaintiff raised a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether there was a specific link between the district's decision not to promote her to the assistant principal spots and the district's various affirmative action policies; based on the record, the court could not determine whether the district's affirmative action policies are consistent with court desegregation orders or Office of Desegregation Monitoring mandates; there were genuine issues of material fact related to questions whether the district's affirmative action policies addressed a manifest racial imbalance in the workforce and, relatedly, whether the policies were aimed at attaining a balance in the work force; in summary, plaintiff presented sufficient direct evidence of unlawful race discrimination by showing that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding the district's affirmative action policies, regarding whether the district acted pursuant to the policies when it failed to promote her to assistant principal positions, and regarding whether the district's affirmative action policies are valid; however, by failing to raise the issue before the EEOC, plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies on her claim that the district's failure to promote her to the director of counseling services was racially discriminatory; plaintiff's state law claims are also reinstated so that the district court may reconsider whether to hear them along with the federal claims concerning the assistant principal positions. Judge Melloy, concurring in part.

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