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Federal court rules that 2011 layoffs were discriminatory against African American teachers, and certifies that the CTU case on behalf of those African American teachers laid off in 2011 can move forward as a class action

In a lengthy 22-page decision which at times mocked the arguments of the Chicago Board of Education trying to defend its racist 2011 layoffs, U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur has ruled that the Chicago Teachers Union may proceed with a class action lawsuit on behalf of the African American teachers who lost their jobs because of the layoffs of 2011. The case returns to court on June 1, 2015 for a status hearing.

In the 2011 case, the CTU charged that by selecting schools for closure or reductions in staffing in 2011, the Board of Education made its decisions on the basis of criteria that were racially discriminatory. Therefore, the union argued, the impact on African American teachers (and other staff) would be disproportionate, a violation of federal law. The Board's response was that even though the Board had selected the schools to be reduced, it was the principals who had the final say over which teachers (and other staff) were dumped. The Board thus claimed that it was not the proper defendant in the case, and that the case should not be a civil rights class action.

In his 22-page decision, the judge almost laughed at the Board's position:

"In candor, that [the Board's position] is totally irresponsible," Judge Shadur wrote. "This action has been pending for just short of 2-1/2 years: Plaintiffs filed their initial Complaint on December 26, 2012, and Board has known from day one about plaintiffs' disparate impact contention and about the asserted numbers upon which those contentions rely -- numbers asserted by responsible plaintiffs' counsel well aware of the obligations imposed on such a pleading by Rule 11(b). Both sides have been in active litigation in the intervening period, and n.2 reflects that plaintiffs have provided a current refinement on the original pleading figure."

Judge Shadur's decision was made public late on May 22, 2015, and as of this writing has received little publicity. A complete copy of the judge's decision is available.



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