Gulino v. Board of Education Litigation
www.gulinolitigation.com

Overview of the Case

In 1996, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the New York City Department of Education ("DOE")1 and the New York State Education Department (“SED”), alleging that the DOE and SED were violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII") by requiring New York City public school teachers to pass the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test ("LAST") to keep or obtain permanent teaching positions. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged that the LAST had an unlawful disparate impact on African-American and Latino teachers who took the test. Go here for more information regarding the claims asserted by plaintiffs. The SED was dismissed from the case following trial in 2006.

  • Liability Ruling

On December 5, 2012, the Court found that the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) failed to establish, as required by federal law, that the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test ("LAST") was related to the job of teaching. The LAST was an exam created and administered by the New York State Education Department ("SED") to teacher candidates. Test takers were required to achieve a passing score on the LAST in order to receive state certification to teach in New York State public schools.

The Court also found that because the LAST was not shown to be related to the job of teaching, the DOE had violated Title VII by requiring plaintiffs to pass the LAST in order to receive a teaching license. The plaintiffs' complaint in this case is not based on a theory of intentional discrimination. Rather, the plaintiffs have alleged, and the Court found, that the DOE was liable for making employment decisions based on the state's exam under a “disparate impact” theory of discrimination.

  • Relief Rulings

In the same order in which the Court found that the DOE had violated Title VII by using the LAST, the Court also found that the plaintiffs could seek injunctive relief benefiting the entire class. In a subsequent order dated August 29, 2013, the Court further found that plaintiff class members are entitled to seek individualized monetary damages, such as backpay, and individualized injunctive relief, such as eligibility for in-system seniority. Finally, on June 18, 2014, the Court amended the class definition so that the relief rulings apply to African-American and Latino individuals employed as New York City public school teachers on or after June 29, 1995, who failed the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test ("LAST") given on or before February 13, 2004, and as a result either lost or were denied a permanent teaching appointment.


1 The DOE was also previously referred to as the “BOE” in numerous court filings, many of which are linked to this website.