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Members of Bridgeport Housing Authority v. City of Bridgeport

decided: April 20, 1981.

MEMBERS OF THE BRIDGEPORT HOUSING AUTHORITY POLICE FORCE, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
v.
CITY OF BRIDGEPORT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS, AND BRIDGEPORT POLICE UNION, LOCAL 1159, AFSCME, COUNCIL NO. 4, INTERVENOR-DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, AND GREGORY IACOVETTI, ET AL., INTERVENORS-DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS .



Appeal from a judgment of the District Court for the District of Connecticut (T. F. Gilroy Daly, Judge) finding the City of Bridgeport to have discriminated against Housing Authority Police, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq . (1976); 42 U.S.C. 1981 and 1983 (1976); the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966, 42 U.S.C. § 3301 et seq . (1976); and the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, 29 U.S.C. § 801 et seq . (1976 and Supp. II 1978). Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded.

Before Van Graafeiland and Newman, Circuit Judges, and Neaher*fn*, District Judge.

Author: Newman

This is an appeal from a judgment of the District Court for the District of Connecticut (T. F. Gilroy Daly, Judge), 499 F. Supp. 760, finding that the City of Bridgeport has discriminated against members of the Bridgeport Housing Authority Police Force ("Housing Police") because their terms and conditions of employment are less favorable than those of members of the City's Police Department. See 85 F.R.D. 624 (D.Conn.1980) (ruling on preliminary injunction). The Court found the City to be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (1976); 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 (1976); the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966 (Model Cities Act), 42 U.S.C. § 3301 et seq. (1976); and the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), 29 U.S.C. § 801 et seq. (1976), as amended by CETA Amendments of 1978, Pub.L.No.95-524, 92 Stat.1909. The Court ordered a broad remedy, including incorporation of the Housing Police members into the Police Department with full employee benefits, back pay, and civil service status. We conclude that the only statute violated was the Model Cities Act, for which the remedy is simply the conferring of civil service status. We therefore vacate in part and remand.

Facts

The Housing Police began providing security for the City's public housing projects on a full-scale basis after 1970, when federal funds for such employment were received under the Model Cities Act by the Bridgeport Housing Authority, which administers the City's seven public housing projects. The Housing Police expanded to 52 members in 1974, the last year in which any officers were hired; the force currently has 27 members, all of whom are Black or Hispanic.

The Bridgeport Police Department numbers 400 officers. In 1975 the examination administered by the City for employment as police officer was successfully challenged as a discrimination against minorities, and quota hiring was ordered. Bridgeport Guardians v. Members of the Bridgeport Civil Service Commission, 354 F. Supp. 778 (D.Conn.), aff'd in part and rev'd in part, 482 F.2d 1333 (2d Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 421 U.S. 991, 95 S. Ct. 1997, 44 L. Ed. 2d 481 (1975). As a result of that litigation, and two subsequent selection tests, minority representation on the force has risen from 3 percent to 13 percent. Virtually all the Housing Police members who are plaintiffs-appellees in this case took the subsequent examinations but did not achieve a passing score. However, ten former members of the Housing Police passed the exams and have been appointed to the Police Department. The constitutionality of these examinations is not challenged in this lawsuit.

Funding for the Housing Police came primarily from the Model Cities Act, which expired in 1975. At that time, the City assumed responsibility for financing the Housing Police for one year but thereafter refused to continue that funding for budgetary reasons. The Housing Police were then funded as CETA participants, supplemented by City funds received under the "block grant" provisions of the Community Development Act (CDA), 42 U.S.C. § 5301 et seq. (1976). Appellees' eligibility for CETA financing expired at the end of 1979. They have continued to receive their salaries during this litigation through the block grant funds, with no guarantee from the City of a permanent place in its budget.

The Housing Police receive training in classes equal in length and content to that of the City Police,*fn1 and perform the duties of police officers within the low-income, high-crime areas they serve. The District Court found, based on uncontradicted testimony concerning the nature and quality of appellees' work, that the Housing Police performed identical services with competence equal to that of City Police officers.

The salient difference between the two forces is the basis on which hiring decisions are made. Hiring for the Housing Police followed the guidelines of the Model Cities Act, which required selection by a committee of residents of the model cities neighborhoods and a member of the City Police Department. The selection committee carried out the Act's policies of both affirmative action with respect to minority members and preference for neighborhood residents. The Police Department, under the City's standard civil service practices, hires applicants strictly in accordance with the ranking of their passing scores on a written examination. Reflecting this difference in the method of initial selection, the two entities have been treated as entirely separate units. The Housing Police are paid substantially less than the officers of the Police Department,*fn2 and lack the job security, pension benefits, and procedural protections available to the regular police force.

The District Court's Decision

The District Court found the City*fn3 liable for discrimination against the appellees in violation of § 703(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) (1976). The Court found that discrimination had been established under both the disparate impact and disparate treatment theories of liability and that the discrimination was intentional. The Court emphasized that members of the two forces received the same training and performed the same duties, yet the Housing Police received pay and benefits significantly less than those of the Police Department. This disparate treatment of the two forces was found to have a disparate impact on minorities because the minority percentage of the Housing Police is 100% and the minority percentage of the Police Department is 13%. The critical aspect of the Court's decision concerns the rejection of the City's justification for maintaining the two forces with their different benefit provisions. The City had contended that higher benefits were available to the Police Department not because of the racial composition of that force but solely because all members of that force had successfully completed the required civil service examination, whereas members of the Housing Police had not passed any qualifying examination. The District Court rejected the legitimacy of the City's justification because of Section 6 of Bridgeport's City Charter.

Section 6, reprinted in the margin,*fn4 provides that when the City "absorbs or assumes operation of an enterprise or function performed by" the federal government, the state or some subdivision thereof, the employees considered essential to its operation and employed for at least one year are to be "retained without preliminary or performance tests." The Court found that the City had assumed the federal government's function in funding the Housing Police, whose members were all essential to its operation, and that under the Charter, this precluded the City from requiring appellees to take an entry exam, the alleged basis for the City's distinction between the two forces.

The District Court not only relied on Section 6 of the City Charter to reject the legitimacy of the City's basis for distinguishing between the two forces, but also inferred primarily from the City's disregard of the obligations imposed by Section 6 that the true motivation for the disparate treatment of the two forces was their different racial composition. The conclusion about deliberate discrimination also rested to some extent on other factors. The Court noted that the City had disregarded a regulatory letter issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the Model Cities Act, requiring fund recipients to incorporate jobs funded under the Act into permanent employment positions. The Court also relied on evidence that one White employee had been retained after a reclassification of her position without being required to take a new competitive examination.*fn5 Finally, the Court took notice of the City's generally "deplorable reputation" as a discriminatory employer, citing prior employment discrimination cases involving Bridgeport.

The conclusions concerning intentional discrimination also served as the basis for finding the City liable ...


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