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

rpclare at aol.com rpclare at aol.com
Mon Jun 29 12:23:40 EDT 2009

This really connects to the internal vs external discussion. Most smaller jurisdictions cannot afford the level of expertise to do it then defend it. "Management" must have confidence in their internal resources so they and their lawyers don't make what, on the surface, seems like a bureaucratically expedient decision. Even a consultant-type oversight committee can bolster internal resources.
------Original Message------
From: Bryan Baldwin
Sender: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org
To: IPAC-List at ipacweb.org
Subject: [IPAC-List] USSC rules against New Haven, CT
Sent: Jun 29, 2009 11:25 AM

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

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