USDOJ Intervenes in Lawsuit re Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities in Administering Law School Admissions Test

Per the order of a federal judge, the U.S. Department of Justice has intervened in the lawsuit The Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. LSAC Inc., et al.  The case was previously a state level class action suit on behalf of law school admission test takers in California, but the involvement of the Justice Department expands the lawsuit nationwide.

The lawsuit alleges that the Law School Admissions Council has discriminated against test takers with disabilities by failing to provide testing accommodations and by “flagging” test scores obtained by those disabled test-takers who were provided certain testing accommodations.  The complaint alleges that flagging the scores of the test-takers with disabilities is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

LSAC’s discriminatory policies in the administration of the Law School Admissions Test adversely impact people with disabilities nationwide.  This is a systemic problem with serious consequences that echo throughout such individuals’ academic and employment careers, and it needs to be addressed as such.  The Justice Department’s full participation in this case is an important step towards ending a long cycle of disability discrimination in standardized testing.

Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division

The Justice Department’s Press Release further explains:

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations and by entities that offer examinations or courses related to applications, licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or postsecondary education, professional, or trade purposes.  The ADA mandates that testing entities administer examinations in an accessible manner. This requires testing entities to administer examinations, such as the Law School Admissions Test, so as to best ensure that, when the examination is administered to a person with a disability, the examination results accurately reflect his or her aptitude or achievement level, or whatever other fact the examination purports to measure, rather than the individual’s disability.