Human Resource Management in State and Local Government in the United States: Avoiding Liability for Discrimination Under Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983

John A. Sample



The purpose of this review is to summarize Title 42 U.S.C. §1983, sometimes known as the “other” or “original” federal discrimination law in the United States that applies to elected officials, their appointed public administrators, and other employees in state and local governments. This federal statute provides a procedural process that allows a person to bring a private right of action to seek redress when just laws and policies are administered unjustly by state and local governmental entities. A hypothetical set of facts from a municipal setting is used to explore a typical Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 proceeding. Included in the review are typical defenses and immunities that make these proceedings for both the complaining party and the political entity complex, if not paradoxical. Strategies to prevent such claims are also discussed.

Key words:Title 42 U.S.C. §1983, state and local government, employment discrimination, defenses and immunities.

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