The Company added a further requirement for new employees on July 2, 1965, the date on which Title VII became effective. Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed by Solicitor General Griswold, Assistant Attorney General Leonard, Deputy Solicitor General Wallace, David L. Rose, Stanley Hebert, and Russell Specter for the United States; by Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney General, pro se, Samuel A. Hirshowitz, First Assistant Attorney General, and George D. Zuckerman and Dominick J. Tuminaro, Assistant Attorneys General, for the Attorney General of the State of New York; and by Bernard Kleiman, Elliot Bredhoff, Michael H. Gottesman, and George H. Cohen for the United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO. POWER . § 2000e-2 (k). Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971). Google Chrome, Rather, a vice president of the Company testified, the requirements were instituted on the Company's judgment that they generally would improve the overall quality of the work force. Rec. Both were adopted, as the Court of Appeals noted, without meaningful study of their relationship to job-performance ability. Congress provided, in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for class actions for enforcement of provisions of the Act and this proceeding was brought by a group of incumbent Negro employees against Duke Power Company. Equal Educational Case: Griggs Vs. Duke Power Company. Rec. ] The congressional discussion was prompted by the decision of a hearing examiner for the Illinois Fair Employment Commission in Myart v. Motorola Co. (The decision is reprinted at 110 Cong. Rec. (1965); Power Reactor Co. v. Electricians, [401 2. The District Court found that prior to July 2, 1965, the effective date of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the . The workers argued that, because of the inferior segregated education available to blacks in North Carolina, a disproportionate number of African Americans were rendered ineligible for promotion, transfer, or employment. This method of analysis is consistent with the seminal Supreme Court decision about disparate impact discrimination, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971).   110 Cong. Footnote 12 (1961). (1969). The Bottom Line Limitation to the Rule of Griggs v. Duke Power Company James P. Scanlan United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Follow this and additional works at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjlr Part of the Civil Rights and Discrimination Commons, Labor and Employment Law Commons, Nothing in the Act precludes the use of testing or measuring procedures; obviously they are useful. 11 When the Company abandoned its policy of restricting Negroes to the Labor Department in 1965, completion of high school also was made a prerequisite to transfer from Labor to any other department. Transferees into a department usually began in the lowest position. U.S. 424, 434] Co., 414 U. S. 86, 414 U. S. 94 (1973).   In 1971, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in Griggs v. Duke Power, which transformed our nation’s work places. In 1978, the EEOC adopted the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures or “UGESP” under Title VII. U.S. 424, 431] It held that, in the absence of a discriminatory purpose, use of such requirements was permitted by the Act. 367   United States Supreme Court. Negroes were employed only in the Labor Department where the highest paying jobs paid less than the lowest paying jobs in the other four "operating" departments in which only whites were employed. It has - to resort again to the fable - provided that the vessel in which the milk is proffered be one all seekers can use. The facts in Griggs involved a workplace with five Operating Departments, ranging from Labor at … The court established a legal precedent for "disparate impact" lawsuits in which criteria unfairly burdens a particular group, even if it appears neutral. The Court of Appeals noted, however, that the District Court was correct in its conclusion that there was no showing of a racial purpose or invidious intent in the adoption of the high school diploma requirement or general intelligence test and that these standards had been applied fairly to whites and Negroes alike. . Since the Act and its legislative history support the Commission's construction, this affords good reason to treat the guidelines as expressing the will of Congress.   That section authorizes the use of "any professionally developed ability test" that is not "designed, intended or used to discriminate because of race . 1, Characteristics of the Population, pt. History is filled with examples of men and women who rendered highly effective performance without the conventional badges of accomplishment in terms of certificates, diplomas, or degrees. [ GRIGGS v. DUKE POWER COMPANY United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit. [ In short, the Act does not command that any U.S. 424, 437]. See 42 U.S.C. Act by the enforcing agency is entitled to great deference. 124 Argued: December 14, 1970 Decided: March 8, 1971. Neither was directed or intended to measure the ability to learn to perform a particular job or category of jobs. Diplomas and tests are useful servants, but Congress has mandated the commonsense proposition that they are not to become masters of reality. Alfred W. Blumrosen* For good thoughts (though God accept them) yet towards men are little better than good dreams, except they be put in act; and that cannot be done without power and place, as the vantage and com­ ... color, religion, sex and national origin. The evidence, however, shows that employees who have not completed high school or taken the tests have continued to perform satisfactorily and make progress in departments for which the high school and test criteria A) high school diplomas were not related to job success as a coal handler B) Duke Power Company intended to discriminate against blacks C) no business necessity existed The fact that a test was prepared by an individual or organization claiming expertise in test preparation does not, without more, justify its use within the meaning of Title VII." That case suggested that standardized tests on which whites performed better than Negroes could never be used. MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. In the earlier memorandum Clark and Case assured the Senate that employers were not to be prohibited from using tests that determine qualifications. Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, Pub. Findings on this score are not challenged. Prior to Title VII, black employees could not work in four of the five departments at Duke nor could they achieve the same wage as a white employee. Company openly discriminated on the basis of race in the hiring and assigning of employees at its Dan River plant. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Rec. Footnote 6 are now used. See 29 C.F.R. 3. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is, as to that portion of the judgment appealed from, reversed. Senators Case of New Jersey and Clark of Pennsylvania, comanagers of the bill on the Senate floor, issued a memorandum explaining that the proposed Title VII "expressly protects the employer's right to insist that any prospective applicant, Negro or white, must meet the applicable job qualifications. From the sum of the legislative history relevant in this case, the conclusion is inescapable that the EEOC's construction of 703 (h) to require that employment tests be job related comports with congressional intent. To qualify for placement in any but the Labor Department it became necessary to register satisfactory scores on two professionally prepared aptitude Guide, § 17,304.53 (Dec. 2, 1966). The EEOC position has been elaborated in the new Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, 29 CFR 1607, 35 Fed. . 420 F.2d 1225, 1239 n. 6. 28 L.Ed.2d 158. ] Section 703 (h) applies only to tests. The Supreme Court had to decide whether it was legal for the Duke Power Company to use aptitude tests to restrict promotions and transfers within the company. . The Court of Appeals reversed in part, rejecting the holding that residual discrimination arising from prior practices was insulated from remedial action, but agreed with the lower court that there was no showing of discriminatory purpose in the adoption of the diploma and test requirements. [401 The case was argued before the Supreme Court on December 14, 1970, and the court issued its ruling on March 8 of the following year. Firefox, or Please try again. [ 395 The Company contends that its general intelligence tests are specifically permitted by 703 (h) of the Act. This consequence would appear to be directly traceable to race. The U.S. In Griggs v. Duke Power Company, Griggs sued the power company because it required coal handlers to be high school graduates. ] One member of that court disagreed with this aspect of the decision, maintaining, as do the petitioners in this Court, that Title VII prohibits the use of employment criteria that operate in a racially exclusionary fashion and do not measure skills or abilities necessary to performance of the jobs for which those criteria are used. ] The Court of Appeals majority, in finding no requirement in Title VII that employment tests be job related, relied in part on a This article incorporates public domain material from this U.S government document. Held: BURGER, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which all members joined except BRENNAN, J., who took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.   Congress has not commanded that the less qualified be preferred over the better qualified simply because of minority origins. tests, as well as to have a high school education. The administrative interpretation of the [401 Copyright © 2020, Thomson Reuters. 6 8 CO. AND THE CONCEPT OF EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION . 7247. . STRANGERS IN PARADISE: GRIGGS V. DUKE . 420 F.2d, at 1232. Footnote 9 2 849. The Court of Appeals also required that the seniority rights of those Negroes be measured on a plantwide, rather than a departmental, basis. More than that, Congress has placed on the employer the burden of showing that any given requirement must have a manifest relationship to the employment in question. 1. ... five months after charges had been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case was decided in favor of Griggs because _____. The ruling effectively forbids employers from using arbitrary tests—such as those for measuring IQ or literacy—to evaluate an employee or a potential employee, a practice that some companies at the time were using as a way to get around rules that forbid outright racial discrimination. (1970); Udall v. Tallman, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., case in which the U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision on March 8, 1971, established the legal precedent for so-called “ disparate-impact ” lawsuits involving instances of racial discrimination. [401 On the record before us, neither the high school completion requirement nor the general intelligence test is shown to bear a demonstrable relationship to successful performance of the jobs for which it was used. Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. Stay up-to-date with FindLaw's newsletter for legal professionals. tests should be validated for jobs similar to those for which they will be used). Albemarle Paper Company v. Moody (1975): Clarified methods for using and validating tests in selection (i.e. In Griggs v. Duke Power Company, Griggs sued the power company because it required coal handlers to be high school graduates. The promotion record of present employees who would not be able to meet the new criteria thus suggests the possibility that the requirements may not be needed even for the limited purpose of preserving the avowed policy of advancement within the Company. It has no applicability to the high school diploma requirement. Updates? In its ruling, the Supreme Court held that employment tests must be “related to job performance.”. The Supreme Court first described the disparate impact theory in 1971, in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 431-2 (1971): Title VII "proscribes not only overt discrimination but also practices that are fair in form, but discriminatory in operation. The final amendment, which was acceptable to all sides, could hardly have required less of a job relation than the first. Footnote 11 With him on the brief were William I. In the context of this case, it is unnecessary to reach the question whether testing requirements that take into account capability for the next succeeding position or related future promotion might be utilized upon a showing that such long-range requirements fulfill a genuine business need. While 703 (a) of the Act makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to limit, segregate, or classify employees to deprive them of employment opportunities or adversely to affect their status because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, 703 (h) authorizes the use of any professionally developed ability test, provided that it is not designed, intended, or used to discriminate. . EEOC General Counsel's Opinion Letter, 1 CCH Employment Prac. Footnote 3 ." The District Court found that respondent's former policy of racial discrimination had ended, and that Title VII, being prospective only, did not reach the prior inequities. .   U.S. 285 [401 Footnote 4 The Court of Appeals' opinion, and the partial dissent, agreed that, on the record in the present case, "whites register far better on the Company's alternative requirements" than Negroes. Lawrence M. Cohen argued the cause for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States as amicus curiae urging affirmance. Ward, Jr., and George M. Thorpe. The email address cannot be subscribed. 4. or passing of a standardized general intelligence test as a condition of employment in or transfer to jobs when (a) neither standard is shown to be significantly related to successful job performance, (b) both requirements operate to disqualify Negroes at a substantially higher rate than white applicants, and (c) the jobs in question formerly had been filled only by white employees as part of a longstanding practice of giving preference to whites. Jack Greenberg argued the cause for petitioners. Rec. Reg. A) Equal Pay Act of 1963 B) Civil Rights Act of 1866. [   Willie S. GRIGGS et al., Petitioners, v. DUKE POWER COMPANY. Indeed, the very purpose of title VII is to promote hiring on the basis of job qualifications, rather than on the basis of race or color." All the petitioners are employed at the Company's Dan River Steam Station, a power generating facility located at Draper, North Carolina. Part 1607. [401 What is required by Congress is the removal of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment when the barriers operate invidiously to discriminate on the basis of racial or other impermissible classification. Griggs v. Duke Power Co. is an early and important case discussing the need to eradicate not only discriminatory treatment in the workplace, but also race-neutral polices that have a discriminatory impact. in the case of any individual who is seeking employment with such employer, such test is designed to determine or predict whether such individual is suitable or trainable with respect to his employment in the particular business or enterprise involved . However, the Court of Appeals denied relief to the Negro employees without a high school education or its equivalent who were hired into the Labor Department after institution of the educational requirement. On this basis, the Court of Appeals concluded there was no violation of the Act. Promotions were normally made within each department on the basis of job seniority. Duke Power Co. Rec. If it is determined that a disparate impact exists, the focus then shifts to the employer to show that the challenged practice is “job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.” 42 U.S.C. ... 1966, five months after charges had been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Which legislation was responsible for the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? 35, Table 47.   Corrections? Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, was a court case argued before the Supreme Court of the United States on December 14, 1970. In September 1965 the Company began to permit incumbent employees who lacked a high school education to qualify for transfer from Labor or Coal Handling to an "inside" job by passing two tests - the Wonderlic Personnel Test, which purports to measure general intelligence, and the Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, having enforcement responsibility, has issued guidelines interpreting § 703(h) to permit only the use of job-related tests. Despite Adverse impact is often used interchangeably with "disparate impact," which was a legal term coined in one of the most significant U.S. Supreme Court rulings on disparate or adverse impact: Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 1971. By a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held that the tests given by Duke Power were artificial and unnecessary and that the requirements for transfer had a disparate impact on blacks. Footnote 10 U.S. 424, 429]. [ Negro employees at respondent's generating plant brought this action, pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, challenging respondent's requirement of a high school diploma or passing of intelligence tests as a condition of employment in or transfer to jobs at the plant. 5 See, e. g., United States v. City of Chicago, GRIGGS V. DUKE POWER COMPANY INTRODUCTION The growing importance of testing in America has been well documented.1 Long used to determine educational opportunities, tests are now used in-creasingly to determine occupational opportunities as well. U.S. 424, 430] The Senators said in that memorandum: "There is no requirement in title VII that employers abandon bona fide qualification tests where, because of differences in background and education, members of some groups are able to perform better on these tests than members of other groups. [401 Willie S. GRIGGS et al., Petitioners, v. DUKE POWER COMPANY. Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971) Griggs v. Duke Power Co. No. The touchstone is business necessity. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. With him on the briefs were James M. Nabrit III, Norman C. Amaker, William L. Robinson, Conrad O. Pearson, Julius LeVonne Chambers, and Albert J. Rosenthal. U.S. 396 1. 6 This method of analysis is consistent with the seminal Supreme Court decisions about disparate impact discrimination, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971). Griggs v. Duke Power (1971): Tests were illegal when they resulted in adverse impact and were not job related. But Congress directed the thrust of the Act to the consequences of employment practices, not simply the motivation. The facts of this case demonstrate the inadequacy of broad and general testing devices as well as the infirmity of using diplomas or degrees as fixed measures of capability. U.S. 926 ] In North Carolina, 1960 census statistics show that, while 34% of white males had completed high school, only 12% of Negro males had done so. person be hired simply because he was formerly the subject of discrimination, or because he is a member of a minority group. Microsoft Edge. 9 § 2000e-2(k)(1)(A)(i); see also Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971). The opposition to the amendment was based on its loose wording which the proponents of Title VII feared would be susceptible of misinterpretation. We granted the writ on these claims. See also Decision of EEOC 70-552, CCH Empl. Footnote 2 13724. [401 Proponents of Title VII sought throughout the debate to assure the critics that the Act would have no effect on job-related tests. Omissions? Discriminatory preference for any group, minority or majority, is precisely and only what Congress has proscribed. these assurances, Senator Tower of Texas introduced an amendment authorizing "professionally developed ability tests." Rec. Footnote 5 The District Court also concluded that Title VII was intended to be prospective only and, consequently, the impact of prior inequities was beyond the reach of corrective action authorized by the Act. (Emphasis added.). [   The Court of Appeals held that the Company had adopted the diploma and test requirements without any "intention to discriminate against Negro employees." It is generally considered the first case of its type. The employee, a high school graduate who had begun in the Labor Department in 1953, was promoted to a job in the Coal Handling Department. Guide, § 6139 (Feb. 19, 1970). We do not suggest that either the District Court or the Court of Appeals erred in examining the employer's intent; but good intent or absence of discriminatory intent does not redeem employment procedures or testing mechanisms that operate as "built-in headwinds" for minority groups and are unrelated to measuring job capability. Griggs v. Duke Power Company (1971) was the Supreme Court case that established disparate impact discrimination. U.S. 1 13504 (remarks of Sen. Case). Discrimination could actually exist under the guise of compliance with the statute." Section 703 (h) was not contained in the House version of the Civil Rights Act but was added in the Senate during extended debate. . quotation from an earlier Clark-Case interpretative memorandum addressed to the question of the constitutionality of Title VII. Griggs claimed that Duke's policy discriminated against African-American employees in violation of Title VII of t… See also Espinoza v. Farah Mfg. We recommend using Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). A number of Senators feared that Title VII might produce a similar result. In its decision, the court held that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act requires employers to promote and hire based on a person’s ability to perform the job, not an abstract evaluation of the person’s credentials. Consider the Griggs v. Duke Power Co. case decided by the Supreme Court in 1971. U.S. 8 Congress has now provided that tests or criteria for employment or promotion may not provide equality of opportunity merely in the sense of the fabled offer of milk to the stork and the fox. Decision of EEOC, CCH Empl. These guidelines demand that employers using tests have available "date demonstrating that the test is predictive of or significantly correlated with important elements of work behavior which comprise or are relevant to the job or jobs for which candidates are being evaluated." With him on the brief were Francis V. Lowden, Jr., Gerard C. Smetana, and Milton A. Smith. In practical terms, EEOC’s policy forbids employers from using one hiring policy for women with small children and a different policy for males with children of a similar age. [ ] A Negro was first assigned to a job in an operating department in August 1966, five months after charges had been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Id., at 1607.4 (c). Under the Act, practices, procedures, or tests neutral on their face, and even neutral in terms of intent, cannot be maintained if they operate to "freeze" the status quo of prior discriminatory employment practices. ] For example, between July 2, 1965, and November 14, 1966, the percentage of white employees who were promoted but who were not high school graduates was nearly identical to the percentage of nongraduates in the entire white work force. On the contrary, Congress has now required that the posture and condition of the job-seeker be taken into account. It was to achieve equality of employment opportunities and remove Far from disparaging job qualifications as such, Congress has made such qualifications the controlling factor, so that race, religion, nationality, and sex become irrelevant. Willie Griggs filed a class action, on behalf of several fellow African- American employees, against his employer Duke Power Company . U.S. 424, 435] This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Griggs-v-Duke-Power-Co, North Carolina History Project - Griggs v. Duke Power. [ 7213. 400 12 10 [401 See remarks of Senators Ervin, 110 Cong. In 1955 the Company instituted a policy of requiring a high school education for initial assignment to any department except Labor, and for transfer from the Coal Handling to any "inside" department (Operations, Maintenance, or Laboratory). Footnote 8 Rec. All rights reserved. From the time the high school requirement was instituted to the time of trial, however, white employees hired before the time of the high school education requirement continued to perform satisfactorily and achieve promotions in the "operating" departments. In so doing, the Court of Appeals rejected the claim that because these two requirements operated to render ineligible a markedly disproportionate number of Negroes, they were unlawful under Title VII unless shown to be job related. There, because of the inferior education received by Negroes in North Carolina, this Court barred the institution of a literacy test for voter registration on the ground that the test would abridge the right to vote indirectly on account of race. 91 S.Ct. [401 4 399 Completion of high school alone continued to render employees eligible for transfer to the four desirable departments from which Negroes had been excluded if the incumbent had been employed prior to the time of the new requirement. . At the time this action was instituted, the Company had 95 employees at the Dan River Station, 14 of whom were Negroes; 13 of these are petitioners here. Prac. GRIGGS v. DUKE POWER CO.(1971) No. . Duke Power, prior to the Act, had followed a policy of overt discrimination by confining those blacks hired to the labor department, in which the highest paying jobs 7 barriers that have operated in the past to favor an identifiable group of white employees over other employees. The plaintiffs in the case, the employees, argued that those requirements did not measure a person’s ability to perform a particular job or category of jobs and were instead attempts to get around laws forbidding discrimination in the workplace. amendment and have found it to be in accord with the intent and purpose of that title." 110 Cong. 110 Cong. 5662.) In Griggs v. Duke Power (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, tests measuring intelligence could not be used in hiring and firing decisions. The objective of Congress in the enactment of Title VII is plain from the language of the statute. Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. (1971) was a case that helped shape current labor laws after the implementation of Title VII. The plant was organized into five operating departments: (1) Labor, (2) Coal Handling, (3) Operations, (4) Maintenance, and (5) Laboratory and Test. 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