A new project led by Ford Foundation law and social science professor Vicki Schultz and involving Yale law students will examine early work done by lawyers in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Section of employment disputes (ELS) – and analyze what it works. might have to say for current and future civil rights law.
With exclusive authority to prosecute cases involving a pattern or practice of workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in its first decade, ELS lawyers have worked tirelessly to dismantle deep-rooted patterns of segregation and inequality in the U.S. workforce, supporting structural discrimination in industries like steel, construction, trucking, and utilities and later in utilities police and fire departments and other municipal and state governments across the country. Lawyers built the law from scratch, creating new legal concepts like disparate impact, model or practice, and affirmative action to bring Title VII to life. This new project aims to weave legal, political and organizational history to show how a small group of dedicated lawyers can change America.
Schultz will be offering a seminar in spring 2022 entitled âLiving Civil Rights Lawâ, in which students will engage themselves with these pioneering lawyers. Students will conduct interviews with former ELS lawyers to tell their stories and preserve the agency’s legacy, while considering the far-reaching implications of ELS cases in the context of contemporary civil rights law.
âStudents can use the Core Matters of Title VII to think deeply about how to resolve contemporary discrimination issues, for example, by asking how the concept of a model or practice of discrimination developed by lawyers in the Division rights can be adapted to address the discrimination issues encountered. most often by LGBTQ people today, âSchultz said.
In addition to posting articles to an online forum, students can also disseminate their work and ideas through creative narratives – in podcasts, videos, and blogs – beyond traditional written articles. The multimedia approach of the seminar encourages students to share their work and aims to fulfill one of Schultz’s goals for the project – to build a community of people committed to civil rights law and to create an equal right to decent work for all, at the Faculty of Law and beyond. Taken together, Schultz hopes that the project and the seminar will integrate students into a larger multigenerational community involved in promoting equal rights.
âIn the wake of the recent uprising against racial injustice and the massive job loss suffered disproportionately by women of color during COVID, the seminar allows students to reflect on how the Division of Civil rights to tackle structural racism in employment creates a basis for tackling similar inequalities at work today, âsaid Schultz.
Students will also need to make Freedom of Information Act requests for materials needed for future iterations of the project. The project will extend beyond the spring seminar; students can participate in independent research or research assistant credit in the following year.
âI am honored and delighted to take on this project, which I have wanted to do for a long time,â said Schultz. âI am especially excited about the prospect of involving YLS students in the process of learning and getting to know some of these extraordinary civil rights advocates who have helped transform the country’s Jim Crow economy into a more just economy. and more open for the selection of American workers. Their story and their work are an inspiration to what lawyers can do today. “
Schultz recently received an Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fellowship to do this work on the history of the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of DOJ, where she worked as a trial lawyer before teaching the right. The Ruebhausen Fund supports students and faculty projects at Yale Law School and seeks to provide innovative responses to the changing needs of society.