[401 5 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. ... color, religion, sex and national origin. In the present case the Company has made no such showing. U.S. 424, 436] 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. Proponents of Title VII sought throughout the debate to assure the critics that the Act would have no effect on job-related tests. 124 Argued: December 14, 1970 Decided: March 8, 1971. Rec. 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.   POWER . This consequence would appear to be directly traceable to race. [401 Firefox, or GRIGGS V. DUKE POWER CO. stituted a class action in which they sought to have the use of the testing and educational standards enjoined. U.S. 424, 432] 5662.) Act by the enforcing agency is entitled to great deference. The amendment was then adopted. 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. 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. With him on the brief were Francis V. Lowden, Jr., Gerard C. Smetana, and Milton A. Smith. 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.” The U.S. The final amendment, which was acceptable to all sides, could hardly have required less of a job relation than the first. Basic intelligence must have the means of articulation to manifest itself fairly in a testing process. Willie S. GRIGGS et al., Petitioners, v. DUKE POWER COMPANY. That case suggested that standardized tests on which whites performed better than Negroes could never be used. U.S. 285 Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424 (1971) Griggs v. Duke Power Co. No. Promotions were normally made within each department on the basis of job seniority. 35, Table 47. That section authorizes the use of "any professionally developed ability test" that is not "designed, intended or used to discriminate because of race . The Supreme Court’s decision in Griggs v. Duke Power Company, 401 U.S. 424 (1971), addressed the Title VII issues created by employer policies that are facially neutral, but which adversely impact employees on the basis of race, sex, or religion. Learn more about FindLaw’s newsletters, including our terms of use and privacy policy. [ 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. 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 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. The facts in Griggs involved a workplace with five Operating Departments, ranging from Labor at … Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. at 401 U. S. 433-434. ... 1966, five months after charges had been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 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. Footnote 4 It was to achieve equality of employment opportunities and remove To qualify for placement in any but the Labor Department it became necessary to register satisfactory scores on two professionally prepared aptitude Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. 1. (1970); Udall v. Tallman, 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. Stay up-to-date with FindLaw's newsletter for legal professionals. Ability tests so utilized often decide who will be hired, transferred, or promoted for jobs 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. 110 Cong.   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. 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 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. Footnote 11 4 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. In Griggs v. Duke Power Company, Griggs sued the power company because it required coal handlers to be high school graduates. 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. (Emphasis added.) 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 Act proscribes not only overt discrimination but also practices that are fair in form, but discriminatory in operation. 4. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is, as to that portion of the judgment appealed from, reversed. Footnote 8 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. 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. 3. U.S. 8 Diplomas and tests are useful servants, but Congress has mandated the commonsense proposition that they are not to become masters of reality. 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. See also Decision of EEOC 70-552, CCH Empl. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Griggs v. Duke Power (1971): Tests were illegal when they resulted in adverse impact and were not job related. Please try again. It is generally considered the first case of its type. Findings on this score are not challenged. 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. 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. 13492. Rec. In 1978, the EEOC adopted the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures or “UGESP” under Title VII. In the earlier memorandum Clark and Case assured the Senate that employers were not to be prohibited from using tests that determine qualifications. Section 703 (h) was not contained in the House version of the Civil Rights Act but was added in the Senate during extended debate. [401 This language indicates that Senator Tower's aim was simply to make certain that job-related tests would be permitted. George W. Ferguson, Jr., argued the cause for respondent. Congress did not intend by Title VII, however, to guarantee a job to every person regardless of qualifications. 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." 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 … 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. What Congress has commanded is that any tests used must measure the person for the job and not the person in the abstract. . MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court. 10 ] Senator Tower's original amendment provided in part that a test would be permissible "if . . Willie S. GRIGGS et al., Petitioners, v. DUKE POWER COMPANY. Footnote 7 ] 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. (1969).   Equal Educational Case: Griggs Vs. Duke Power Company. 1, Characteristics of the Population, pt. 9 This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. [401 Updates? 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). 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 ." The touchstone is business necessity. 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. Footnote 2 The message of these Guidelines is the same as that of the Griggs case -- that discriminatory tests are impermissible unless shown, by professionally acceptable methods, to be Id., at 1607.4 (c). The Court of Appeals was confronted with a question of first impression, as are we, concerning the meaning of Title VII. Nothing in the Act precludes the use of testing or measuring procedures; obviously they are useful. [ 7247. MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. 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). 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. The administrative interpretation of the Act by the enforcing agency is entitled to great deference. 12333 (Aug. 1, 1970). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, having enforcement responsibility, has issued guidelines interpreting 703 (h) to permit only the use of job-related tests.   7213. Google Chrome, Decision of EEOC, CCH Empl. 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 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. [401 U.S. 396 (1961). What Congress has forbidden is giving these devices and mechanisms controlling force unless they are demonstrably a reasonable measure of job performance. 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. 367 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. In its ruling, the Supreme Court held that employment tests must be “related to job performance.”. In 1978, the EEOC adopted the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures or “UGESP” under Title VII. 91 S.Ct. 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. 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. Adverse Impact does not mean that an individual in a majority group is given preference over a minority group. Co., 414 U. S. 86, 414 U. S. 94 (1973). 2 (Emphasis added.). 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). However, nothing there stated conflicts with the later memorandum dealing specifically with the debate over employer testing, 110 Cong. 13724. U.S. 424, 435] 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. 110 Cong.   amendment and have found it to be in accord with the intent and purpose of that title." [401 United States Supreme Court. Footnote 12 ... five months after charges had been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. CO. AND THE CONCEPT OF EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION . person be hired simply because he was formerly the subject of discrimination, or because he is a member of a minority group. U.S. 424, 434] 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. U.S. 424, 437]. 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. Rec. . ] 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. 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. 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. Footnote 5 420 F.2d, at 1232. In short, the Act does not command that any GRIGGS v. DUKE POWER CO.(1971) No. The decision was taken to mean that such tests could never be justified even if the needs of the business required them. Rec. The plant was organized into five operating departments: (1) Labor, (2) Coal Handling, (3) Operations, (4) Maintenance, and (5) Laboratory and Test. A) Equal Pay Act of 1963 B) Civil Rights Act of 1866. This article incorporates public domain material from this U.S government document. Reg. [ Far from disparaging job qualifications as such, Congress has made such qualifications the controlling factor, so that race, religion, nationality, and sex become irrelevant. 3. Rec. 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