The U.S. Supreme Court rules on a discrimination suit. Many call the ruling unfair, but no explanation was given by the higher court.
1989 (Jun 12)
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, ruled that "the three-hundred-day period that federal law allows for filing job discrimination lawsuits begins when ... seniority plans [are] adopted." In a dissent, justices Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun, and William Brennan agreed with civil rights lawyers that such an interpretation was unfair because employees were often unaware of the discriminatory effect that a seniority system may have on them for months or years. Justice Sandra Dav O'Connor did not participate in the case and did not offer an explanation. The case came to the high Court from Aurora, Illinois, where three women filed suit in 1982 claiming that a change in the seniority system at the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. there caused them to lose seniority, However, federal courts in Chicago had held that the litigation (Lorance v. AT&T Technologies, Inc.) was filed too late. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the lower courts.