Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, there has been a significant amount of educated speculation about the effect of that decision on class action litigation in general and more particularly on class actions involving claims of employment discrimination.  Dukes is seen as creating an impassable barrier for class actions claiming discrimination in multiple locations based on excess subjectivity arising from decentralized decision-making.  Dukes instead focuses the inquiry on the existence and discriminatory effect of enterprise-wide policies such as an employment test or standardized performance criterion.  The question remains: what constitutes an enterprise-wide policy or practice?  This is a question that has challenged practitioners since General Tel. Co. of the Southwest v. Falcon, 457 U.S. 147, 159 n. 15 (1982), and before.

Continue Reading The Issue Class Action: Another Tool For Employment Discrimination Litigation

In its decision in Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S.Ct. 2658 (2009), the Supreme Court sought to resolve a conflict between the “twin pillars of Title VII,” the Act’s disparate-impact and disparate-treatment provisions.  Ricci involved a promotional examination administered by the City of New Haven.  After candidates took the examination, the City refused to certify

The national unemployment rate, as reported by the Department of Labor, has stubbornly remained at about 9% or higher for more than two years. As many of these unemployed individuals search for new jobs, some have purportedly been denied available employment opportunities simply because they were unemployed. Unemployment discrimination, as it is often called, is not currently prohibited under federal law. The EEOC and Congress, however, have taken steps focused on so-called unemployment discrimination that could affect how employers conduct their hiring processes.

Continue Reading The EEOC And Congress Work To Prohibit Unemployment Discrimination

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that claims brought by African American firefighters who had sued the City of Chicago alleging that a hiring test was discriminatory were not time barred.  Lewis v. City of Chicago, No. 08-974, 560 U.S. ___ (2010).  The City conceded that its use of the hiring test was unlawful, but argued that the firefighters claims were untimely.  Addressing only the statute of limitations issue, the Court issued a unanimous decision in favor of the firefighters, holding that the firefighters timely filed a disparate impact claim based on the continued use of the hiring test.

Continue Reading Disparate Impact Claims Ruled Timely Based On Continued Use Of Hiring Test