Federal Court Holds Law School Admission Council in Contempt for Violations of DFEH Consent Decree in Disability Case
March 6, 2018
For Immediate Release
DFEH Obtains Nationwide Relief for Test Takers, Consent Decree Extended by Two Years
San Francisco – A federal court in San Francisco has held the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) in contempt of court for multiple violations of court orders requiring it to provide reasonable accommodations to people taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), a standardized test used in law school admissions.
LSAC has been under the terms of a consent decree since May 2014 which resolved a lawsuit filed by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and the U.S. Department of Justice. The lawsuit alleged that LSAC violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act by discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Under the terms of the decree, LSAC agreed to provide reasonable accommodations for test takers with disabilities and paid $8.73 million in damages.
However, an investigation by DFEH in April 2017 found LSAC continued its discrimination for nearly two years, despite the consent decree. Today, the court agreed and found LSAC in contempt of court for, among other things, responding to requests for accommodations with automatic offers of lesser accommodations than those requested by test takers. When candidates accepted LSAC’s lesser accommodations, LSAC used white-out to alter its internal records and reported that the requests had been granted in full. The court also found that LSAC failed to provide DFEH with reasonable access to records.
“People with disabilities should not face unfair or unreasonable barriers when entering any profession, and we will continue to work with LSAC to ensure full compliance with court orders,” said DFEH Director Kevin Kish. “When we bring violations of an agreement to light and informal attempts to resolve them fail, the Department will not hesitate to go to court to ensure the people protected by those agreements obtain the benefits we secured for them,” said Kish.
With the order dated March 5, the nationwide settlement, which was set to expire on May 29, 2018, was extended to May 29, 2020.
CRD is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. Formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the mission of CRD is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and state-fund programs and activities, and from hate violence and human trafficking. For more information, visit calcivilrights.ca.gov.