Many government agencies require applicants to live in the jurisdictions they will serve. There may be good reasons, too—like wanting public servants to understand the communities where they work or making sure they are available quickly in an emergency. That doesn’t mean those reasons won’t be challenged.
Recent case: The NAACP sued a regional fire rescue company over its residency rule, which required applicants for firefighter positions to be residents of the towns the company served. This excluded most black applicants, who tended to live in the local labor market but not in those particular towns.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision that had concluded the residency requirement disparately impacted black applicants. The fire company will have to drop the residency requirement. (NAACP v. Hudson Regional Fire Rescue, No. 10-3965, 3rd Cir., 2011)
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