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Supreme Court rules on pre-employment tests and disparate impact

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Hiring,Human Resources

by Arthur B. Smith Jr. and Michael H. Cramer, Esqs.

The U.S. Supreme Court in late May unanimously sided with a group of black firefighter applicants who alleged that the city of Chicago’s employment selection process had a disparate impact on them. The court said the timing of Title VII lawsuits—in this case concerning a pre-employment test—doesn’t depend on when the alleged discriminatory act first occurred, but on when the employer acted on the results of that discriminatory act, even if that’s years later.

The applicants challenged the city’s decision to exclude applicants who did not achieve a certain score on an examination—but not the city’s decision to adopt that employment practice.

The case is Lewis v. City of Chicago (Supreme Court of the United States, No. 08–974, May 24, 2010).

Pre-employment tests

In July 1995, Chicago administered a written examination to more than 26,000 applicants seeking to serve in the Ch...(register to read more)

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