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Bias lawsuit alert: If you use job tests, your legal team better include statisticians, too!

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

It’s tricky to use tests to determine which employees are eligible for promotion.

Reason: Employment tests generally are a legal minefield. If members of a protected class score significantly lower than other groups, you can expect a lawsuit alleging the test had a disparate impact. And as the following case shows, even court-approved testing procedures are no protection.

Recent case: A group of Akron firefighters sued for race and age discrimination when they lost out on promotions to lieutenant and captain after scoring low on a qualifications test.

Because at least 80% of the protected-class group scored as well as other candidates, it met the so-called “4/5ths rule,” which courts long ago created to determine if a test was discriminatory.

However, the judge in this case allowed more advanced statistical tests. Based on those statistics, a jury decided the test did have a disparate impact on minority and older firefighter...(register to read more)

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