Tom Coats, a white man, was employed by the Shelby County School System (SCSS) in Memphis, Tennessee as a school counselor. Because of a drop in enrollment and reduced budget, Coats and some other counselors were laid off in order of seniority. The school system decided to retain Jackie Smith, a counselor with less seniority than Coats because she was the only black person assigned to the western part of the school district. However, there was no racial imbalance in the total employment of school counselors. Coats was rehired 18 months later but claimed he was the victim of reverse discrimination. His lawsuit requested $83,630 in back wages plus $36,000 in attorneys’ fees and other expenses.