Reverse Discrimination – Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S.Ct. 2658 (2009)

Reverse Discrimination – Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S.Ct. 2658 (2009)

This case is about reverse discrimination . Reverse discrimination occurs when a person who belongs to a dominant or majority group is treated in an unfavorable manner. Under affirmative action many employers set aside a certain percentage of job vacancies for blacks, women and other groups. Such practices are challenged by other job candidates, usually white males, claiming that they are discriminated against on the basis of their race or sex in violation of Title VII of the of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII). Section 703(j) of the Title VII states: “Nothing in this title shall be interpreted to require any employer… to grant preferential treatment to any individual […]

BFOQ and Gender Discrimination – Dothard v. Rawlinson, 433 U.S. 321 (1977)

BFOQ and Gender Discrimination – Dothard v. Rawlinson, 433 U.S. 321 (1977)

This US Supreme Court case is about bona fide occupational qualification defense (BFOQ) and gender discrimination . Dianne Rawlinson was a 22 year old college graduate with major in correctional psychology. When she applied for a job in one of Alabama maximum security correctional institutions her application was rejected, because she failed to meet the minimum 120 pound weight and 5 feet 2 inches height requirements established by a state statute. She filed a class action lawsuit challenging the Alabama statute as discriminatory under the Civil Rights Act. While the lawsuit was pending the Alabama authorities adopted an administrative regulation, establishing gender criteria for ‘contact’ positions in maximum security prisons. […]

BFOQ Defense against Claims of Discrimination in the Workplace

BFOQ Defense against Claims of Discrimination in the Workplace

Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) defense is provided under section 703(e) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. According to it, it is not against the law to hire employees based on national origin, religion, or sex when such a differentiation is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of a particular business. Employers can use this defense against claims of discrimination in the workplace . However, this defense is of a limited character. For instance, when during hiring process an employer differentiates candidates based on sex, it should follow the guidelines established by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The guidelines provide a list of exceptions, which do not […]

Disparate Impact and How to Avoid It

Disparate Impact and How to Avoid It

In Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971) the US Supreme Court dealt with a specific situation when seemingly neutral employment policies led to discrimination in the workplace . The Court ruled that the employer violated the law when the company required that all applicants in order to qualify for a job or transfer should have a high school diploma or to pass a standardized general intelligence test. As a result of that employment practice, Afro-American candidates were disqualified in much higher numbers than Caucasian candidates, i.e. it had a disparate impact. The problem was that the hiring practice was not “significantly related” to a successful job performance. […]

Discrimination in the Workplace: Facially Neutral Employment Policies May Lead to Unlawful Discrimination – Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971)

Discrimination in the Workplace: Facially Neutral Employment Policies May Lead to Unlawful Discrimination – Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971)

This US Supreme Court case is about discrimination in the workplace, which does not look like discrimination at first sight. It involves using facially neutral employment policies that have a disparate impact and lead to unlawful discrimination at work. A class action lawsuit was brought by Afro-American employees against their employer – Duke Power Company. The plaintiffs alleged that their employer used discriminatory practices when required a high school education or passing a standardized general intelligence test as a condition of employment, or transfer/promotion. The question which the Supreme Court had to decide is whether an employer was violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Act) when […]