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Affirmative Action Upheld as Basis for Differential Hiring Standards
Description Court dismissed a suit for race discrimination against United Air Lines. The company may have differential hiring standards based on race, in this case second-language ability, to help correct an imbalance in the labor force that results in under-representation of qualified black flight attendants.
Topic Employment Discrimination
Key Words Race; Reverse Discrimination; Affirmative Action
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Dix sued United Air Lines for race discrimination. He applied to become a flight attendant, but United required white applicants to be bilingual but did not impose that requirement on black applicants. Dix, who is not bilingual, attended an interview session offered by United. He was told that only blacks who are not bilingual would be hired. He applied anyway and was rejected. United moved for summary judgment, arguing that the difference in hiring policy based on race is legal.
Decision Motion granted. The EEOC sued United in 1973 for having few minority flight attendants. The numbers have increased, but by 1998, 8.66 percent of their flight attendants were black compared with 15 percent in the qualified labor pool, so United was still under pressure to increase the number of qualified minority flight attendants. "United maintains that excusing the two-language requirement for African-Americans was part of a legal affirmative action plan." That plan is still valid given the composition of the labor force in question.
Citation Dix v. United Air Lines, Inc., 2000 WL 1230463 (N.D. Ill., 2000)

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