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Chicago’s Physical Ability Test For Paramedics Discriminatory

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturned a lower court decision and ruled that a physical ability test used by the city of Chicago in hiring paramedics was discriminatory because it had a disparate impact on female applicants. Over the course of 10 years 800 men and 300 women took the test. 98% of men passed while only 60% of women passed. The significantly lower passage rate for female applicants would not be problematic if the test actually measured ability to do the job. The Seventh Circuit found that it did not.
Rather, the test was significantly more difficult than the physical demands of the paramedic job. The Court found that the “lack of connection between real job skills and tested job skills is, in the end, fatal to Chicago’s case. Thus, the plaintiffs should have prevailed on their Title VII disparate impact claims.” While there is nothing wrong with using tests in the hiring process, employers should take care to use tests that actually measure the ability to do the job.

Female Paramedics Win Chicago Gender Bias Case
Ernst v. City of Chicago | Justia U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Court rules Fire Dept. paramedic test discriminates vs. women
Ernst v. City of Chicago

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The First Muslim Federal Judge?

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

We have never had a Muslim federal judge in this country. That could change. Last week President Obama nominated Abid Qureshi, a lawyer with the firm Latham & Watkins, LLP, to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Qureshi was born in Pakistan. He graduated from Cornell University in 1993 and from Harvard Law School in 1997. He has spent his entire career with Latham & Watkins and it has been a distinguished career to date. His colleagues describe him as a brilliant lawyer and an exceptional nominee. Kathryn Ruemmler, former White House counsel and current colleague of Qureshi, said “having judges who are reflective of the nation as a whole just brings public confidence into our court system.” Farhana Khera, executive director for Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy group, said “a judiciary that reflects the rich diversity of our nation helps ensure the fair and just administration of the law, and it is vital for American Muslims to be included.” Muslims have served as judges in state court, but never in federal court. President Obama has made judicial diversity a priority in his administration and has appointed 138 women and 120 minorities to federal judgeships. The Senate now has to decide whether to confirm the nomination.

For more on the nomination follow these links:
President Obama Nominates Abid Riaz Qureshi to Serve on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Abid Qureshi, Nominated By Obama, Would Be First Muslim Federal …
Obama Nominates First Muslim to Be a Federal Judge
President Obama picks the first Muslim nominee to be a federal judge …

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NLRB Says Graduate Students Are Employees

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week the National Labor Relations Board held that graduate students who work as teaching or research assistants at private universities are employees and have the right to engage in collective bargaining. The Board found that the student assistants were employees where they “perform work, at the direction of the university, for which they are compensated.” It further held that, even though they were students as well, “statutory coverage is permitted by virtue of an employment relationship” and “is not foreclosed by the existence of some other, additional relationship that the Act does not reach.” Seems simple enough, but it isn’t. In fact, the Board has reversed itself on this issue several times in the last 16 years. The current Board says that the prior ruling holding that teaching and research assistants were not employees lacks any convincing justification for the ruling and deprives an entire category of workers of the protections afforded to employees. In the prior decision the Board said teaching and research assistants could not be employees because their primary relationship with the university was an educational one rather than an economic one.

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Judge Says $100 Million Not Fair And Reasonable To Settle Uber Class Action

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Last week federal Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California declined to approve a $100 million dollar settlement in a class-action suit by approximately 385 thousand Uber drivers. The Judge said that the amount was still not enough to be fair and reasonable. The Judge said drivers were potentially owed $700 million in mileage reimbursement, $122 million in tips, $2.4 million in overtime and $30 million in phone reimbursements. Attorneys for the drivers and Uber had agreed on the settlement. The risk for Uber in not settling is it could get hit with a big verdict at trial. There is risk for the drivers as well, however, aside from potentially losing at trial. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is reviewing the decision to certify the class of 385 thousand drivers. If that decision were to be overturned, nearly all of the drivers would have to pursue their claims individually in arbitration. When the same thing happened to Lyft in a similar lawsuit, it increased its proposal from $12.5 million to $27 million and that amount was approved by the judge overseeing that litigation. We’ll see what happens here.

Follow these links for more details:

 

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The Glass Ceiling

Jon Allison

Jon Allison’s Monday Blog

Congratulations to Hillary Clinton on becoming the first woman to be a presumptive nominee for a major political party in this Country. I would not wish for my daughter to ever be President. That said, as a father raising a daughter it’s important to me that my daughter believes that all opportunities are open to her if she chooses to pursue them. She’s only 9 now, but kids begin learning about Presidents by that age in school and she is well aware there has never been a woman who was President. I’m not sure whether someone pointed that out to her or if she noticed on her own, but she’s aware. Kids get a lot of input about what they can’t do and/or aren’t expected to be able to do. Clinton’s achievement sends a powerful message about what can be done.

Hillary Clinton clinches Democratic presidential nomination – CNN.com

Hillary Clinton: Madam presumptive nominee – The Economist

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