[IPAC-List] USSC rules against New Haven, CT

Bryan Baldwin Bryan.Baldwin at doj.ca.gov
Mon Jun 29 11:25:08 EDT 2009

FYI, the US Supreme Court ruled today (5-4) against the city of New
Haven, CT and its decision not to use an employment list that it
anticipated would result in adverse impact:


Not particularly surprising given the tone of oral arguments. It will
be interesting to see how this influences things--if at all--beyond
making employers think twice about what tests to use. Which maybe is a
good thing.

Some quick points:

- The court focused heavily on the "race-conscious" nature of the
decision and the inability of the City to argue it was warranted.

- The court did not find any evidence that the test was "deficient"
when it came to being job-related and consistent with business
necessity, nor did it find evidence of an equally valid alternative with
less adverse impact. In fact the court noted "detailed steps taken to
develop and administer the tests and the painstaking analyses of the
questions asked to assure their relevance to the captain and lieutenant

- Perhaps most interestingly, the court notes at the end of the
decision that "If, after it certifies the test results, the City faces a
disparate-impact suit, then in light of today’s holding the City can
avoid disparate-impact liability based on the strong basis in evidence
that, had it not certified the results, it would have been subject to
disparate-treatment liability."

Clear as mud?

Bryan Baldwin
Staff Services Manager II
California Department of Justice
Division of Administrative Support
Personnel Programs
(916) 322-5446

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This communication with its contents may contain
confidential and/or legally privileged information. It is solely for the
use of the intended recipient(s). Unauthorized interception, review, use
or disclosure is prohibited and may violate applicable laws including
the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. If you are not the intended
recipient, please contact the sender and destroy all copies of the

More information about the IPAC-List mailing list