Randall D. Schmidt Argues Class Action Case on Discriminatory Teacher Layoffs

Chicago Had Options Beyond Teacher Layoffs, 7th Circ. Told

In the case discussed below, Professor Randall Schmidt, Director of the Employment Discrimination Project of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, represents three laid off African American teachers  and the class they represent. Casey Jedele, Kailin Liu, Clare Fogarty, all ’20, worked on the appeal during the 2019-20 school year and Rachel Murphy and Simon Jacobs, both ’22, worked on the appeal this past summer. Countless other students have worked on this case since Professor Schmidt and the Clinic began work on the case in early 2013.

Chicago's powerful teachers union told the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday that the city's Board of Education failed to consider a less discriminatory alternative to layoffs that had a disparate impact on Black instructors.

Appealing a lower court's judgment in favor of the board, the Chicago Teachers Union told the court during oral arguments that its proposed alternatives could have avoided the layoffs of hundreds of union members in 2011, while still addressing declining enrollment and a projected budget deficit. The union had suggested transferring affected members to vacant positions or giving them priority access to interviews for those openings.

"The undisputed evidence is more than half of the teachers who received the layoff notice ultimately found other jobs in vacant positions in other schools," said Randall D. Schmidt of the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, arguing for the union.

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