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Make sure testing is related to actual job duties

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employers that use general tests to screen applicants run the risk of facing a disparate-impact discrimination lawsuit. If that happens, you will have to prove that the test measures qualities that relate to actual job duties.

Recent case: New York City’s Board of Education required all applicants for teaching positions to pass a qualifying examination called the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST) before being hired.

A group of black and Hispanic applicants who failed sued, alleging that the test had a disparate impact on them.

The board argued that the test was developed to assess general liberal arts and science knowledge. But it did not investigate the job tasks that a teacher must perform to do the job, and instead used liberal arts curriculum documents to construct the test. The court said that wasn’t good enough. (Gulino v. Board of Education, No. 96-CV-8414, SD NY, 2015)

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