The U.S. Supreme Court decided another fire fighter case.

The decision was unanimous, holding that the limitations period during which a plaintiff can file a suit based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act starts from the application of an unlawful policy, rather than the announcement of the policy by the employer.  The opinion was written by the Senior Justice Antonin Scalia, a Reagan appointee.

This case went to a bench trial and the petitioner/plaintiffs won.  The Court ordered the City to hire 132 randomly selected members from among the plaintiffs and awarded backpay to be divided among the remaining class members.  Then it was appealed and the Seventh Circuit reversed on a timeliness defense, which I think is fairly characterized by the plaintiffs’ counsel as a technicality. The Supreme Court rejected the Seventh Circuit’s approach and has restored the District Court’s award.