Lawyers react to ‘illegal’ deal in Minneapolis to fire white teachers first
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Several lawyers have reacted to an agreement between the Minneapolis teachers’ union and the school district to fire white teachers first, regardless of seniority, calling it ‘unconstitutional’ and predicting it could end up in the Supreme Court .
« The Supreme Court has been crystal clear public schools cannot fire teachers because of their skin color, » Kimberly Hermann, general counsel for the Southeastern Legal Foundation, told Fox News Digital. « The contract between the Minneapolis Public Schools and the Local Teachers Union (aka K-12 Cartel) is unconstitutional, illegal, and sets our country back decades in race relations. »
The agreement, which ended a two-week strike earlier this year, protects « underrepresented » populations from layoffs and is designed « to address the lingering effects of past discrimination », according to a spokesperson for the Minneapolis public schools.
Helen Rella, an attorney at New York firm Wilk Auslander, noted that « two wrongs don’t make a right. »
« If that phrase applied in any situation, it applied here, » she told Fox News Digital. « He’s trying to remedy past discrimination with current discrimination, and that’s inappropriate. »
She added that the deal violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
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“Typically, we see litigation when someone has been harmed, but there are preventative legal proceedings that can be taken to restrict the application of the provision,” she continued, noting that the « prejudice » in this situation would be that teachers lose their jobs « for discriminatory reasons ».
John-Paul Singh Deol, head of labor law practice at Dhillon Law Group in San Francisco, noted that these actions violate union duty as well as anti-discrimination laws.
“Unions are required to represent all of their members fairly and in good faith, not just a portion of them,” he told Fox News Digital. « Favoring minority members over white members violates this duty, as well as state and federal anti-discrimination laws. »
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Rella also focused on the failure of the Minneapolis teachers’ union to defend its workers.
« It’s unfortunate that we’re in a situation where it’s taken to this extreme, and there doesn’t seem to be a reluctance to discriminate against people, » she said. « That’s what unions have always stood for, organizing workers and defending the rights of all the individuals they represent in unions. »
“Here, the union apparently facilitates discrimination against a subset of its members, which goes against the reason why people join a union. They join a union, so that their rights can be protected, » she added.
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Deol noted that the courts have authorized some temporary affirmative action plans, but the agreement does not meet those requirements.
« Title VII and related state laws also protect against employment discrimination, with no exceptions for so-called underrepresented employees, » he told Fox News Digital. « While temporary affirmative action plans have been authorized by the courts in some cases, the union and the district appear to have done nothing to meet legal requirements. »
« Under the law, they cannot unduly take away rights from non-minority workers, which is exactly what they intend to do, » he added.
« A government employer firing white teachers first and giving preference to rehiring non-white teachers, without providing a clear and compelling rationale, violates federal and state anti-discrimination laws, and possibly even the right to a equal protection under the constitution. »
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Hermann encouraged teachers affected by the policy to take legal action to end the policy.
« The Southeastern Legal Foundation hopes that brave teachers, like our clients in Illinois and Missouri, will take legal action to end this, » she said.
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Rella predicted that if the deal goes to court, it could go to the Supreme Court, but that process could take years.
« We really have to ask ourselves: if this has happened, what is the next step? » she says.