Written by attorney Meghan Uzzi Lehner

Is Jim Crow Rearing His Ugly Head Again?

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals – the federal appellate court for Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin and one of the country’s thirteen federal appellate courts – has decided that an employer may segregate its employees based upon their race so long as there is not sufficient harm associated with the segregation, such as a reduction in pay, benefits or job responsibilities. In U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. AutoZone, Inc., et al. Read the Seventh Circuit’s decision here: AutoZone was assigning its African-American employees to a store in a predominantly African-American neighborhood and assigning its Hispanic employees to a store in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. The court found that AutoZone was not violating federal civil rights laws by segregating its employees between different stores based upon their race because there was not sufficient harm to those employees as a result of the segregation. Unfortunately, this decision wasn’t made in 1896 or even 1954. It was made in 2017.

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