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Griggs vs Duke Power

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Submitted By jbutdrake
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Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. (1971) was a case that helped shape current labor laws after the implementation of Title VII. Prior to Title VII, black employees could not work in four of the five departments at Duke nor could they achieve the same wage as a white employee. The day Title VII became effective, Duke Power Co. introduced a new policy for new hires or department transfers that required a high school diploma or passing scores on two general intelligence tests. This new policy applied to all black employees and applicants but white employees that did not meet those requirements were grandfathered in. Black employees challenged these requirements, stating they were not job related and disqualified blacks from employment or transfer at a higher rate than whites (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007).
1. What was the impact of the Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. decision on the employer?
The impact on the employer was that stipulations could not be implemented that restricted certain minority groups from being hired unless the employer could prove that those stipulations served a legitimate business purpose or in other words, “The employer must measure the person for the job and not the person in abstract” (Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 2012). This case legitimized disparate impact theory which states if a job qualification or employment practice has an unequal impact on a specific group, it is only justifiable if the employer can prove it has a business related purpose. Organizations had to start looking at the effect of their employment practices and their relation to race. Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. was a precedent case and stood as “good law” until 1989 when the court decided that the burden was on the employee to prove an employer’s policy was not job related instead of placing the burden on the employer. This reversal was considered a setback to civil rights...

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