Daily Mail

A new lawsuit filed by a law student against the Chicago Bears claims race and sex discrimination after the plaintiff was rejected for a fellowship aimed at minorities and women, allegedly because he is a white male. The lawsuit states that the Bears 'engaged in intentional race and sex discrimination when creating and circulating a job posting which by its very nature excludes Caucasian men as viable applicants,' and claims that the Bears' recruitment policy violates federal and state anti-discrimination laws. Constangy senior counsel Chris Deubert recently spoke to The Daily Mail on the case and the tricky legal terrain surrounding DEI.

Deubert asserts that while the fellowship may have been well-intentioned, requiring candidates to be a person of color or female is problematic. "The position’s requirement that the fellow be a person of color or female on its face violates federal and state anti-discrimination laws,' Chris says. "Only in very rare circumstances not applicable here can race or sex be considered as part of the employment application process."

Chris suggests alternative approaches, such as submitting "adversity statements." This case reflects broader controversies surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in professional sports, highlighting tensions between promoting diversity and concerns about discrimination against other groups.

Read the full article here.

Chris Deubert is senior counsel out of Constangy's Boston and New York offices. Chris is a seasoned attorney with over thirteen years of diverse experience in labor and employment, sports law, and litigation matters. In his career, Chris has represented and counseled employers on various labor and employment issues, including discrimination complaints, wage disputes, and employment agreements. He has also provided legal guidance to entities in the sports industry, such as teams, associations, athletes, and agents.

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