U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

May 2011 News

Chicago Must Right Disparate Impact, Hire 111 Black Firefighters

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the City of Chicago last week in a landmark employment discrimination case. As a result of the 7th Circuit ruling, Chicago must hire 111 black firefighter applicants who were denied jobs years ago by the city and it must pay tens of millions to approximately 6,000 more black candidates, according to The New York Times.

The 7th Circuit decision is based on a decade old case that involved a written employment test for prospective firefighters. As The New York Times reports, 26,000 applicants took an employment test in 1995 to become firefighters. The test considered anyone with a score of 65 or higher to be qualified. However, those initially hired were chosen from a random set of candidates scoring 89 or higher. This created a disparate impact at the expense of black candidates, as 6,000 black candidates had received scores between 65 and 89. Only 11 percent of black applicants received scores over 89, writes The Washington Post.

7th Circuit: Inefficient 401(k) Leads to Violation of ERISA Law

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that inaction might trigger liability under ERISA law, reports CFO.com.

ERISA. It's one of those things that in-house lawyers hear about but don't always fully understand. It's something that employment lawyers know can be one of their greatest weapons but they don't want to crack open the Tax Code to decipher it.

The basic rule behind ERISA is simple: Employers who offer an employee benefit plan must comply with certain rules set aside under ERISA law. These rules place upon the plan administrators the fiduciary duty of prudent management of the employee benefit plans and the duty to make adequate and appropriate disclosures.