The tests “disproportionately screened out female applicants, resulting in a disparate impact against those applicants.” Officers who are highly fit have more options in a situation where force is required — subduing a suspect without resort to a gun, for example. Still, courts have often gone along with demands to weaken tests and standards. [DoJ press release]
The U.S. Department of Justice is taking the position that it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act for the Law School Admission Council to inform law schools that test-takers got extra time or other accommodations after lodging demands under the ADA. The ABA is siding with disabled-rights activists in calling for an end to test score flagging. [ABA Journal]
When the topic of testing accommodations comes up in the Disability Law classes he teaches, Sam Bagenstos is struck at the vigor with which his students push back, finding it unfair that so many of their colleagues request and obtain extra time on exams as an accommodation to learning disabilities or other intellectual disabilities, and expressing concern about the danger that some families will be better than others at playing the system. “I believe that the solution is to give all students more time. For this reason, I give take-home exams wherever possible.” Scott Greenfield isn’t satisfied by this answer at all:
…when it comes to being a lawyer, the desirability of providing accommodations is trumped by the ability to fully, competently and ethically serve clients….
Yes, there are things that lawyers do which don’t require speedy processing, but as long as a lawyer is just as entitled to try a case as write a contract, he must be capable of doing both.
More: Paul Horwitz.
“The [U.S. Department of Justice] has forced other police departments across the country to lower testing standards” on the grounds “that not enough black candidates were passing.” [WKEF (auto-plays video) via Perry]
“A prospective law school student who alleges he has a disability filed a suit in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas, seeking a court order to force the Law School Admissions Council to provide him with accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act for the Law School Admissions Test.” [Texas Lawyer via ABA Journal]
So asks Charlie Roberts, who ran the testing division for the Chicago Police Department from 1995 to 1999, upon learning that the city is simply going to give up on testing because of the threat of lawsuits. (Fran Spielman and Frank Main, “Police may scrap entrance exam”, Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 6.) The problem is exacerbated by the EEOC’s Four-Fifths Rule—of dubious constitutionality after Ricci—which holds that any selection process that results in a selection rate for any race, sex, or ethnic group less than four-fifths of the most successful group is “adverse impact” that “constitutes discrimination unless justified.” 41 CFR § 60-3.
A suit against Princeton is the latest in a long succession to make headlines. [Kerr, Volokh]
The U.S. Department of Justice is ramping up its “disparate-impact” enforcement in an action against the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, according to Roger Clegg at NRO.
We’ve often touched on the subject of lab testing and defensive medicine, but as Happy Hospitalist points out [Oct. 11], ordering needless testing is by no means the only way the various parties endeavor to avoid liability. Another is the superfluous communication of not-really-urgent abnormal test results, sometimes on a doctor’s pager at 4 a.m.:
Unfortunately, patient safety is rarely an issue. It’s a giant game of shifting liability. The lab documents they notified the nurse–>lab off the hook if something bad happens. The nurse notifies the doctor —> nurse off the hook if something bad happens. Doctor is left with a critical value called 10 or 20 times a day, interrupting the entire flow of patient evaluations and discharges. Every time, I must stop what I’m doing and answer a page for a critical lab value, I lose valuable face time with patients. And it all adds up over the course of a day. I wouldn’t have a problem with the system, except that critical thinking has been removed from the equation. The nurse is not allowed to make judgments as to whether a phone call is warranted or not.
As a default protocol of calling all critical lab values, the liability is shifted up the educational food chain, landing ultimately on the physician’s lap. Often times a nurse is not allowed to not call a critical lab value. The problem is, what the hospital has defined as critical, does not apply to the vast majority of critical lab values reported. What’s considered critical by hospital standards, is a normal or chronic value for [that particular] patient.
Whole thing here.
“Naomi Gadian, 21, from Manchester, claims that multiple choice testing discriminates against people with dyslexia” and is suing Britain’s General Medical Council and her college, the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry in Plymouth, under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the U.K. equivalent of the Americans with Disabilities Act. (“Dyslexic medical student takes legal action against multiple choice exams”, Plymouth Herald, Jul. 30).