U.S. 424, 426] 110 Cong. We granted the writ in this case to resolve the question whether an employer is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, from requiring a high school education Certainly a reasonable interpretation of what the Senators meant, in light of the subsequent memorandum directed specifically at employer testing, was that nothing in the Act prevents employers from requiring that applicants be fit for the job. STRANGERS IN PARADISE: GRIGGS V. DUKE . Consider the Griggs v. Duke Power Co. case decided by the Supreme Court in 1971. Lawrence M. Cohen argued the cause for the Chamber of Commerce of the United States as amicus curiae urging affirmance. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, having enforcement responsibility, has issued guidelines interpreting 703 (h) to permit only the use of job-related tests. Part 1607. [401 On the contrary, Congress has now required that the posture and condition of the job-seeker be taken into account. 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. Footnote 9 380 The EEOC position has been elaborated in the new Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures, 29 CFR 1607, 35 Fed. George W. Ferguson, Jr., argued the cause for respondent. The amendment was then adopted. Argued December 14, 1970. It held that, in the absence of a discriminatory purpose, use of such requirements was permitted by the Act. 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. 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). After careful analysis a majority of that court concluded that a subjective test of the employer's intent should govern, particularly in a close case, and that in this case there was no showing of a discriminatory purpose in the adoption of the diploma and test requirements. The opposition to the amendment was based on its loose wording which the proponents of Title VII feared would be susceptible of misinterpretation. The facts in Griggs involved a workplace with five Operating Departments, ranging from Labor at … Congress has not commanded that the less qualified be preferred over the better qualified simply because of minority origins. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, having enforcement responsibility, has issued guidelines interpreting § 703(h) to permit only the use of job-related tests. Prac. It held that, absent such discriminatory purpose, use of the requirements was permitted, and rejected the claim that because a disproportionate number of Negroes was rendered ineligible for promotion, transfer, or employment, the requirements were unlawful unless shown to be job related. 1. 7 Microsoft Edge. [ Both were adopted, as the Court of Appeals noted, without meaningful study of their relationship to job-performance ability. 1, Characteristics of the Population, pt. The background of the Griggs case began in the early 1970s, when African American workers at the Duke Power Company in North Carolina sued the company because of a rule that required employees who were transferring between different departments to have a high-school diploma or pass an intelligence test. (Emphasis added.). 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. Albemarle Paper Company v. Moody (1975): Clarified methods for using and validating tests in selection (i.e. However, nothing there stated conflicts with the later memorandum dealing specifically with the debate over employer testing, 110 Cong. 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. A number of Senators feared that Title VII might produce a similar result. Prac. Similarly, with respect to standardized tests, the EEOC in one case found that use of a battery of tests, including the Wonderlic and Bennett tests used by the Company in the instant case, resulted in 58% of whites passing the tests, as compared with only 6% of the blacks. ] Senator Tower's original amendment provided in part that a test would be permissible "if . The Supreme Court considered this standard in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971), which is the seminal Supreme Court case on employment testing. The amendment was defeated and two days later Senator Tower offered a substitute amendment which was adopted verbatim and is now the testing provision of 703 (h). 1. [401 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. 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. 91 S.Ct. Ward, Jr., and George M. Thorpe. The Company's lack of discriminatory intent is suggested by special efforts to help the undereducated employees through Company financing of two-thirds the cost of tuition for high school training. [ In Griggs v. Duke Power Company, Griggs sued the power company because it required coal handlers to be high school graduates. (1970); Udall v. Tallman, ." The plant was organized into five operating departments: (1) Labor, (2) Coal Handling, (3) Operations, (4) Maintenance, and (5) Laboratory and Test. (1969). Please try again. It is generally considered the first case of its type. [ Willie Griggs filed a class action, on behalf of several fellow African- American employees, against his employer Duke Power Company . The Act proscribes not only overt discrimination but also practices that are fair in form, but discriminatory in operation. GRIGGS v. DUKE POWER CO.(1971) No. Stay up-to-date with FindLaw's newsletter for legal professionals. 13492. [401 § 2000e-2(k)(1)(A)(i); see also Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971). All rights reserved. Congress did not intend by Title VII, however, to guarantee a job to every person regardless of qualifications. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is, as to that portion of the judgment appealed from, reversed. 110 Cong. Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971) Griggs v. Duke Power Co. No. 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. 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). 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. In its ruling, the Supreme Court held that employment tests must be “related to job performance.”. The email address cannot be subscribed. Omissions? 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. 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, 427] Copyright © 2020, Thomson Reuters. For a period, debate revolved around claims that the bill as proposed would prohibit all testing and force employers to hire unqualified persons simply because they were part of a group formerly subject to job discrimination. Learn more about FindLaw’s newsletters, including our terms of use and privacy policy. All the petitioners are employed at the Company's Dan River Steam Station, a power generating facility located at Draper, North Carolina. 10 An employer may set his qualifications as high as he likes, he may test to determine which applicants have these qualifications, and he may hire, assign, and promote on the basis of test performance." In 1971, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling in Griggs v. Duke Power, which transformed our nation’s work places. 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 But Congress directed the thrust of the Act to the consequences of employment practices, not simply the motivation. This consequence would appear to be directly traceable to race. 849. . These requirements were not directed at or intended to measure ability to learn to perform a particular job or category of jobs. 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. (Emphasis added.) 6 7 The Commission's more recent interpretation of the statute in the guideline relied on by the District Court is no doubt entitled to great deference, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., supra, at 434; Phillips v. To qualify for placement in any but the Labor Department it became necessary to register satisfactory scores on two professionally prepared aptitude 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." 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. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. POWER . The administrative interpretation of the Act by the enforcing agency is entitled to great deference. Corrections? Guide, § 17,304.53 (Dec. 2, 1966). 12 Updates? Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select. Rec. In Griggs v. Duke Power Company, Griggs sued the power company because it required coal handlers to be high school graduates. Act by the enforcing agency is entitled to great deference. That section authorizes the use of "any professionally developed ability test" that is not "designed, intended or used to discriminate because of race . The touchstone is business necessity. 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. 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. 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 Company added a further requirement for new employees on July 2, 1965, the date on which Title VII became effective. 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. 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. The decision was taken to mean that such tests could never be justified even if the needs of the business required them.   The Court of Appeals also required that the seniority rights of those Negroes be measured on a plantwide, rather than a departmental, basis. See remarks of Senators Ervin, 110 Cong. 420 F.2d 1225, 1239 n. 6. 400 United States Supreme Court. Rec. 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. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Griggs challenged Duke's \"inside\" transfer policy, requiring employees who want to work in all but the company's lowest paying Labor Department to register a minimum score on two separate aptitude tests in addition to having a high school education. ] 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. [ 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. It was to achieve equality of employment opportunities and remove The objective of Congress in the enactment of Title VII is plain from the language of the statute. Basic intelligence must have the means of articulation to manifest itself fairly in a testing process. 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. 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." 28 L.Ed.2d 158. Findings on this score are not challenged.   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. 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, 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. U.S. 926 Adverse Impact does not mean that an individual in a majority group is given preference over a minority group. GRIGGS V. DUKE POWER CO. stituted a class action in which they sought to have the use of the testing and educational standards enjoined. § 2000e-2 (k). 3. It concerned employment discrimination and the adverse impact theory, and was decided on March 8, 1971. 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. We recommend using U.S. 424, 428] Section 703 (h) was not contained in the House version of the Civil Rights Act but was added in the Senate during extended debate. Furthermore, the court ruled that, even if the motive for the requirements had nothing to do with racial discrimination, they were nonetheless discriminatory and therefore illegal. Far from disparaging job qualifications as such, Congress has made such qualifications the controlling factor, so that race, religion, nationality, and sex become irrelevant. 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. Neither was directed or intended to measure the ability to learn to perform a particular job or category of jobs. ] The Court of Appeals ruled that Negroes employed in the Labor Department at a time when there was no high school or test requirement for entrance into the higher paying departments could not now be made subject to those requirements, since whites hired contemporaneously into those departments were never subject to them. With him on the brief were William I. . 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. Supreme Court ; 401 U.S. 424. Co., 414 U. S. 86, 414 U. S. 94 (1973). Google Chrome, [ Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. at 401 U. S. 433-434. [ The case was decided in favor of Griggs because _____. On this basis, the Court of Appeals concluded there was no violation of the Act. 4. [ ." tests, as well as to have a high school education. Which legislation was responsible for the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? ] The test standards are thus more stringent than the high school requirement, since they would screen out approximately half of all high school graduates.   [401 Guide § 1220.20 (1967). See, e. g., United States v. City of Chicago, 400 U.S. 8 (1970); Udall v. That case suggested that standardized tests on which whites performed better than Negroes could never be used. 2. 7247 (quoted from in the text above), in which Senators Clark and Case explained that tests which measure "applicable job qualifications" are permissible under Title VII. 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. (“Disparate impact” describes a situation in which adverse effects of criteria—such as those applied to candidates for employment or promotion—occur primarily among people belonging to certain groups, such as racial minorities, regardless of the apparent neutrality of the criteria.) The most important case impacting employee testing is Griggs v. Duke Power, 401 US 424 (1971), in which the United States Supreme Court held that the employer, Duke Power, had established unlawful racially discriminatory criteria for employment and advancement, including testing and …   5 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. The final amendment, which was acceptable to all sides, could hardly have required less of a job relation than the first. ... 1966, five months after charges had been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 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. U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Census of Population: 1960, Vol. Footnote 6 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. 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 Footnote 12 13504 (remarks of Sen. Case).   . Footnote 4 (1961). The requisite scores used for both initial hiring and transfer approximated the national median for high school graduates. Firefox, or Willie S. GRIGGS et al., Petitioners, v. DUKE POWER COMPANY. quotation from an earlier Clark-Case interpretative memorandum addressed to the question of the constitutionality of Title VII. . 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. 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. 5614-5616; Smathers, id., at 5999-6000; Holland, id., at 7012-7013; Hill, id., at 8447; Tower, id., at 9024; Talmadge, id., at 9025-9026; Fulbright, id., at 9599-9600; and Ellender, id., at 9600. U.S. 424, 431] ... color, religion, sex and national origin. . 7247. The Company contends that its general intelligence tests are specifically permitted by 703 (h) of the Act. 9 The District Court had found that while the Company previously followed a policy of overt racial discrimination in a period prior to the Act, such conduct had ceased. Proponents of Title VII sought throughout the debate to assure the critics that the Act would have no effect on job-related tests. U.S. 424, 435]   3. 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.   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. [ Rec. Griggs claimed that Duke's policy discriminated against African-American employees in violation of Title VII of t… 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. U.S. 424, 437]. 2 The U.S. 13724. U.S. 424, 436] We granted the writ on these claims. 7213. U.S. 424, 433]. In the present case the Company has made no such showing. 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. . Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. CO. AND THE CONCEPT OF EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION . Transferees into a department usually began in the lowest position. A) Equal Pay Act of 1963 B) Civil Rights Act of 1866. 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. 420 F.2d, at 1232. (1965); Power Reactor Co. v. Electricians, Discrimination could actually exist under the guise of compliance with the statute." Despite U.S. 424, 435] Guide, § 6139 (Feb. 19, 1970). 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. The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court in part, rejecting the holding that residual discrimination arising from prior employment practices was insulated from remedial action. ... five months after charges had been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. (1971) was a case that helped shape current labor laws after the implementation of Title VII. 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. [ 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. 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). 8 GRIGGS v. DUKE POWER COMPANY United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit. 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. Griggs v. Duke Power Company (a 1971 Supreme Court decision) concluded that EEOC’s “interpretations” of Title VII were “entitled to great deference,” simply because they reflect “ [t]he administrative interpretation of the Act by the enforcing agency.” Forbidden is giving these devices and mechanisms controlling force unless they are demonstrably a reasonable measure of job,. Its ruling, the practice is prohibited a test would be permissible `` if article ( login. Statute. contrary, Congress has commanded is that any tests used must griggs vs duke power eeoc the in! Been elaborated in the earlier memorandum Clark and case assured the Senate that employers were not to prohibited... 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