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Federal Court Finds Village Discriminated Against Day Laborers

Finding that the Village violated equal protection rights of day laborers seeking employment on the streets of the Village of Mamaroneck, the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York directed the parties to submit briefs on the issue of appropriate remedies for the day laborers. The case arose out of activities undertaken by the Village to address what it viewed as “quality of life” issues arising out of the congregating of men seeking employment at various locations in the Village.

The findings of the Court (Doe v. Village of Mamaroneck) included a determination that the Village had undertaken a campaign of traffic enforcement to discourage contractors from picking up laborers in the Village. “The Village traffic enforcement policy was admittedly targeted at day laborers and contractors who wanted to hire them. In the mayor’s own words these groups were subjected to ‘aggressive ticketing’.”

The Court noted that the men impacted by the enforcement policies of the Village were almost exclusively Latino and concluded that the Village had acted differently in the past when those seeking work were mostly Caucasian. Finding that the accusations of anti-social behavior by the day laborers “have no support whatever in the record” and the “attitude of these Village officials differs radically from the historical attitude of Village officials toward transient laborers…” the Court concluded “the Village acted with malicious or bad faith intent” that was partially race based.

Finally, the Court concluded that the actions complained of were taken at the direction of municipal policy makers, the Chief of Police and Mayor, and therefore the municipality is liable for these actions.

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