Case: United States v. Town of Cicero

85-02513 | U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Filed Date: Jan. 21, 1983

Closed Date: 1986

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case involved facially neutral municipal ordinances of a suburb in Chicago in the 1980s that had discriminatory impact on black individuals. On January 21, 1983, the United States filed this lawsuit against the town of Cicero in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The United States sought injunctive relief to enjoin the enforcement of the ordinances. The United States alleged that three of Cicero’s ordinances were i…

This case involved facially neutral municipal ordinances of a suburb in Chicago in the 1980s that had discriminatory impact on black individuals. On January 21, 1983, the United States filed this lawsuit against the town of Cicero in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The United States sought injunctive relief to enjoin the enforcement of the ordinances.

The United States alleged that three of Cicero’s ordinances were illegal. Two of the ordinances required that applicants for firemen and policemen positions to have been residents of the town for at least 3 years. The third ordinance required applicants for all other municipal jobs to have been residents of the town for at least one year. Although these ordinances were facially neutral, the United States argued that they discriminated against Black people. While the town of Cicero neighbored two predominantly black communities, the town itself was predominantly white. 

On November 13, 1984, the United States moved for a preliminary injunction. The district court denied the motion, reasoning that the ordinances were facially neutral and did not violate Title VII because they prohibited all non-residents from applying regardless of race. The United States appealed the district court decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

On March 20, 1986, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s decision and remanded the case for its failure to properly apply the precedent. The Seventh Circuit agreed with the United States that the district court had failed to consider that the ordinances had a disparate impact. Accordingly, they vacated the denial of the preliminary injunction. 786 F.2d 331. In 1986, the parties entered a consent decree to end the town’s discriminatory practices. The Clearinghouse was not able to find further details. 

This case is closed.

Summary Authors

Rhea Sharma (4/1/2024)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

85-02513

Opinion

March 20, 1986

March 20, 1986

Order/Opinion

786 F.2d 786

Resources

Docket

Last updated March 30, 2024, 3:08 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Illinois

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 21, 1983

Closing Date: 1986

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Cicero (Cook), Regional

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e

Available Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

Discrimination-area:

Disparate Impact

Hiring

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black