September 19, 2016
GBDH represents five female paramedics who sued the City of Chicago to challenge a newly imposed “Physical Abilities Test” that 98% of male applicants passed, compared to only 60% of female applicants. Although Chicago won at trial, the Seventh Circuit reversed on September 19, 2016. On the paramedics’ “disparate impact” discrimination claim, the Seventh Circuit held that the City’s Physical Abilities Test had not been properly validated to ensure that it actually measured skills needed to perform the paramedic job. As a result, the Seventh Circuit directed that no new trial was necessary on the disparate impact claim, and that judgment should be entered in favor of the paramedics. On the paramedics’ “disparate treatment” discrimination claim, which alleges that the City acted intentionally to exclude women, the Seventh Circuit held that the key jury instruction had been improper, requiring a new trial. The case is called Ernst v. City of Chicago, and the Seventh Circuit’s opinion is available here. The GBDH team was led by David Borgen. GBDH is co-counseling the case with Joshua Karsh, Susan Malone, and Marni Willenson.
The case is called Ernst v. City of Chicago, and the Seventh Circuit’s opinion is available here.