AALDEF Asks Supreme Court to Hear Asian American Police Officer Discrimination Case

Monday, Jan 7, 2013

port-authority-535x630.jpgThe Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) is urging the Supreme Court to review a Second Circuit statute of limitations holding in a discrimination lawsuit filed by the Asian Jade Society on behalf of Asian American Port Authority officers in New York and New Jersey. The lawsuit alleged that through discriminatory policies and practices, the Port Authority denied Asian American police officers promotions because of their race.

"The Port Authority passed over Asian American police officers because of their ethnicity," said Ken Kimerling, Legal Director of AALDEF. "These were not merely isolated incidents of discrimination but part of systemic practice."

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is an agency created by agreement between the states of New York and New Jersey to develop transportation facilities in the New York metropolitan area. The Port Authority did not disclose its process for promoting officers to sergeants. However, before 2001, not a single Asian American officer had ever been promoted to sergeant in the Port Authority.

In 2009, a jury found systemic discrimination against seven of the officers in the selection of sergeants, and that the Port Authority's decision not to promote those Asian American officers was motivated by their race and ethnicity. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the findings of discrimination on appeal but reduced the amount of damages based on a determination that some the discrimination was outside of the statutory time limitations period of 180 days.

AALDEF's petition for certiorari points out that the discrimination against the Asian American officers was a "continuing violation" since the officers were passed over for promotion on multiple occasions over a period of time lasting years. The Supreme Court has recognized that a claim of discrimination based on a hostile work environment covers the full period of the discrimination, not just those acts within the statutory limitations period. In addition, many of the other circuit courts around the country have recognized that damages cover the entire duration of a pattern of systemic discrimination.

"The Asian American officers are legally entitled to receive damages for the entire, continuing period during which they were subject to a discriminatory promotions process that denied them advancement because of their race," said Kimerling. "We urge the Supreme Court to accept the case for review and overturn the Second Circuit's decision and restore full relief to the seven petitioners."

View petition >

Ujala Sehgal
212.966.5932 ex.217


Remembering AALDEF board member Vivian Cheng-Khanna,1955-2017


2017 AALDEF exit poll: 2,538 Asian American voters polled in 4 states: VA, NJ, NY, MA


Nov. 15-16: AALDEF calls on Asian Americans to mobilize in DC for a clean DREAM Act


AALDEF to conduct exit poll & monitor poll sites in NJ, VA, NYC, & Boston on Election Day


Feb. 15, 2018: AALDEF lunar new year gala honoring Preet Bharara, Linda Greenhouse, and Chan Lee


Oct. 24: AALDEF "M. Butterfly" theater party and talkback with playwright David Henry Hwang


Oct. 1: DACA renewal clinic at Flushing Library


AALDEF denounces ending of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; new DACA fact sheet


Federal appeals court upholds ruling in AALDEF case that Texas election law violates Voting Rights Act


AALDEF denounces introduction of RAISE Act to restrict legal imigration


AALDEF exit poll presentations in Miami, Las Vegas, Atlanta & San Diego


AALDEF statement on the president's voter fraud commission


Screening of new PBS film "Chinese Exclusion Act" and Q&A with Ric Burns and Li-shin Yu on May 23


New AALDEF report: The Asian American Vote in 2016


AALDEF joins amicus brief in State of Hawaii's challenge to revised Trump travel ban


AALDEF condemns Trump Administration's revamped anti-immigrant travel ban


AALDEF joins Korematsu Center amicus brief in challenge to Trump travel ban in Brooklyn federal court