[IPAC-List] Ricci v DeStefano

Bryan Baldwin Bryan.Baldwin at doj.ca.gov
Tue Jun 30 17:25:14 EDT 2009

Having now read the whole thing (okay, I haven't read the dissenting opinions yet) I am struck by how little this seems to change things. There's some stuff in here that can make us feel good about validation work, but seems to me the court essentially said, "An employer, on rare occasions, can engage in disparate treatment to forestall liability for disparate impact, but you simply haven't shown enough evidence to convince us that you would lose a disparate impact case."

>>> "Aamodt, Michael G" <maamodt at RADFORD.EDU> 6/30/2009 2:13 PM >>>


I don't read it quite that way. I think they key thing is WHEN they knew it. Once the testing was done, it was too late to consider "potential" alternatives. Assessment centers have significant black-white differences (Dean, Roth, & Bobko, 2008) and would also have adverse impact. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that assessment centers would have equal validity to a combination of job knowledge and what amounts to a structured interview. What I took away from reading the opinion is that the court believed that the job analysis and test construction process were reasonably done and job related. As a result, the City would have survived a challenge. I think to automatically ASSUME that an assessment center would have equal validity and lower adverse impact to any combination of assessments is not supported by the literature.



Michael G. Aamodt, Ph.D. (Mike)
Professor Emeritus
Department of Psychology
Radford University
Radford, VA 24142-6946
(202) 280-2172
maamodt at radford.edu
http://maamodt.asp.radford.edu <http://maamodt.asp.radford.edu/>


From: ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org on behalf of Mitch Stein
Sent: Tue 6/30/2009 5:02 PM
To: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Ricci v DeStefano

My read of the Court's majority opinion is that they seem to have validated an "ignorance is bliss" defense. They seem to focus on the fact that even though there were better alternatives New Haven could have chosen (e.g. assessment center), since this was only mentioned once to them the CSB had no clear knowledge that there were alternatives with equal (or better) validity that would likely produce less disparate impact. Therefore it was this lack of knowledge that made it impermissible for them to intentionally commit disparate treatment.

Anyone else read their opinion the same way?


Mitchell Stein, PhD
Human Resources Research Psychologist
TN Dept. of Human Resources
(615) 532-8069

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