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KAPLOWITZ v. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

October 22, 1974

KAREN KAPLOWITZ ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO AND THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW SCHOOL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marovitz, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or For Summary Judgment and
  Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment

Background

Plaintiffs in this case are twelve women who graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1970 and 1971; they bring this action for sex discrimination against the University of Chicago, specifically the University of Chicago Law School, on behalf of themselves and "all other female persons who are currently students at the Law School, who have formerly been students at the Law School and have already graduated, and who may in the future be students at the Law School." (Complaint, par. 3).

The complaint charges that the Law School operates an employment agency within the meaning of Section 701(c) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(c), and that defendant is guilty of violating 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. in that it committed acts of sex discrimination. The gravamen of the complaint is found in paragraphs 7-9 therein, which read as follows:

    7.  At all relevant times, Defendants
        maintained in effect a policy of allowing
        employers, whom Defendant knew or should
        have known engaged in discrimination
        against women law students and graduates on
        the basis of sex, to use the facilities of
        the Law School to interview and otherwise
        seek to hire law students and graduates of
        the Law School.
    8.  At various times Plaintiffs submitted and
        members of the class continue to submit
        written and oral complaints to officials of
        the Law School asserting that they were
        accorded discriminatory treatment by
        employers interviewing or otherwise using
        the facilities of the Law School to hire
        attorneys. Defendants have failed and
        continue to fail to take adequate action to
        prevent such employers either from engaging
        in discriminatory hiring practices or from
        continuing to use the placement facilities
        of the Law School.
    9.  Defendants have committed and are now
        intentionally committing unlawful
        employment practices with respect to the
        Plaintiffs and others in the class by
        discriminating against them because of
        their sex in failing and refusing to
        prevent employers using the placement
        facilities of the Law School from
        discriminating against them.

Plaintiffs do not seek monetary relief, but seek only to require the Law School to operate its placement services on what plaintiffs consider to be a nondiscriminatory basis in accordance with the law. The Law School handles student complaints in accordance with procedures established by a faculty committee in February and March 1970. The committee report recommended continuation of a policy of not pre-screening students prior to placement interviews on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, grades, or any other basis. The report also suggested that the brochure distributed by the Placement Office to employers include a statement on employment discrimination. The statement adopted for use in the brochure provides in pertinent part:

  "The Law School is committed to the principle of
  equal opportunities for all individuals
  commensurate with their abilities and not limited
  by discrimination based on race, color, religion,
  national origin, or sex. That principle is
  reflected in the School's admission policy.
  Similarly, it must guide the School's efforts to
  assist its students in finding appropriate
  opportunities

  to enter the legal profession. We believe that
  the goal of equal employment opportunity, which
  is, of course, embodied in federal and state laws
  forbidding discrimination in employment, is
  inherent in the ideals of the legal profession
  and represents a special obligation of the
  profession as well as of the Law School. We
  assume that prospective employers using the
  facilities of our placement office acknowledge
  that obligation, and we expect that their
  employment policies will be consistent with it."

The brochure states with respect to sex discrimination:

  "Special concern as to discrimination based on
  sex has arisen in recent years as a result of the
  increasing number of women graduating from law
  school. In our law school as in others there are
  now a substantial number of women students of
  high ability and with serious professional aims.
  As law students they show not merely intellectual
  capacity but the full range of other qualities
  likely to make effective lawyers. We believe that
  opportunities in the legal profession have not
  been as wide for women as for men. To a
  considerable extent this is no doubt a matter of
  tradition, due in part to the fact that in the
  past only a small number of women have chosen to
  follow legal careers. We strongly hope that as
  wider opportunities are afforded women lawyers to
  demonstrate their talents this tradition will
  change."
  "Questions concerning discrimination against
  women have centered on such practices and
  attitudes as (a) reluctance to hire women because
  of the supposed prejudices of clients or other
  lawyers in a firm; (b) applying higher standards
  in hiring or promoting women than are applied to
  men; (c) paying lower salaries to women than to
  men in comparable positions; (d) assigning women
  lawyers only to certain departments traditionally
  considered suitable for women, such as probate
  and trust work; and (e) refusing to rotate women
  from one department to another while pursuing
  such a practice for men."
  "In the interest of eliminating sex
  discrimination along with other forms of
  discrimination, we invite the attention of
  interviewing firms to the practices mentioned
  above and to others of a similar nature that ...

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