State Of Connecticut Department Of Correction

STATUS: Resolved

On May 30, 2008, Outten & Golden and Public Citizen Litigation Group filed a sex discrimination class action on behalf of Cherie Easterling, and all other women denied a position as a Correction Officer with the Connecticut Department of Correction because they failed the 1.5 mile run aspect of the application process.

The lawsuit sought declaratory, injunctive, and additional equitable monetary relief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on behalf of 124 women who applied for a Correction Officer position in 2004 to 2006.  The complaint alleged that the use of the 1.5 mile run test disproportionately excluded women from obtaining the Correction Officer position and was not supported by business necessity.

The Court granted class certification on January 4, 2010, and shortly thereafter, on May 5, 2011, found the Department’s use of the 1.5 mile run test had a discriminatory disparate impact on female applicants in violation of Title VII.

On July 14, 2011, following these rulings, the Department filed a motion seeking to decertify the class. The Court denied this motion on November 22, 2011.  However, the Court adjusted its previous class certification order to provide for a bifurcated proceeding under Rule 23(b)(2)-(b)(3), (c)(4), in which the determination of liability and individual relief would be litigated separately.

As a result of these decisions, any woman who applied for a Correction Officer position with the Connecticut Department of Correction between 2004-2006, and who failed only the 1.5 mile portion of the physical fitness test, is presumptively entitled to an award of their lost wages and the value of lost benefits.  Class members may also be entitled to front pay or priority hiring with retroactive seniority.

(*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.)


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