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Personnel Administrator of Massachusetts v. Feeney

Citation. 442 U.S. 256, 99 S. Ct. 2282, 0 L. Ed. 2d 870, 1979 U.S.
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Brief Fact Summary.

The Respondent, Feeney (Respondent), challenges the Petitioner, Personnel Administration of Massachusetts’s (Petitioner), rule that provides a hiring preference to military veterans.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A gender neutral statute that adversely impacts one gender does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution (Constitution) if it does not have a discriminatory purpose and it does not actually classify one gender.


Respondent claims that by having a hiring preference for veterans over non- veterans for civil service positions, the Petitioner is discriminating against women.
The District Court found that this practice has a severe impact on job opportunities for women, since most of the veterans are men.


Does the hiring practice that favors veterans violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution?


No. The benefit of this act was offered to any person who was a veteran. The law is a preference for veterans of either sex over non-veterans of either sex. It was not designed to favor men over women.


This statute was designed to reward and help veterans reenter society after their service. At the time only 1% of the veterans were women. So, it appeared that this legislation was meant for men only. But, in its application and by definition a veteran is gender neutral.

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