This paper will discuss and analyze issues involving the case Dunlap v. Tennessee Valley Authority. We will determine the legal issues in the case. We will explain the plaintiff’s disparate (adverse) impact claim fail. We will also explain why the plaintiff’s disparate treatment claim succeeds. Lastly, we will discuss what should the TVA have done differently with regard to interviewing and selecting candidates for these jobs?
Our textbook states that; Employers that base employment decisions of any kind, including hiring and promotion, on protected class characteristics are engaging in disparate treatment discrimination ( Walsh 2010, pg. 193). In United States employment law, the doctrine of disparate impact states that, if they have a disproportionate “adverse impact” on members of minority group. Under the doctrine, a violation of title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act maybe disproportionately adverse effect on members of the protected class as compared with non-members of the protected class (United States employment law). The doctrine entails that “A facially neutral employment practice is one that does not appear to be discriminatory on its face; rather it is one that is discriminatory in its application or effect.”Where a disparate impact is shown, the plaintiff can prevail without the necessity of showing intentional discrimination unless the defendant employer demonstrates that the practice or policy in question has a demonstrable relationship to the requirements of the job in question. In the case, Dunlap v. Tennessee Valley Authority David Dunlap experienced “Disparate (adverse) Treatment, Disparate Treatment” by the Tennessee Valley Authority within the hiring process. Proving why the Disparate (adverse) Treatment failed in this case and why the Disparate Treatment succeed. What were the legal issues in the case?
When we look at The American workplace, it is rapidly becoming multicultural and employers must ensure that selection procedures are free from unfair bias that may negatively affect the increasing number of minorities because it is the law. In the case of Dunlap v. Tennessee Valley Authority, the legal issues are whether David Dunlap, a boil maker, experienced racial discrimination under disparate treatment and disparate (adverse) impact when interviewing for a boilermaker position with Tennessee Valley Authority under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The plaintiff David Dunlap claims that the interviewing and scoring process with the Tennessee Valley Authority is racially bias towards black applicant has and is geared to give white applicants a higher scoring advantage over blacks. Explain why the plaintiff’s disparate (adverse) impact claim fail? Our textbook states that, disparate impart theory requires a plaintiff to demonstrate that a facially neutral employment practice falls more harshly on one group than another and that the practice is not justified by business necessity (Walsh 2010, pg 210). In the case of Dunlap v Tennessee valley Authority, Dunlap had to prove that the intent of the Tennessee Valley Authority was to intently discriminate or adversely affect against him because of his race thus denying him employment with the Tennessee Valley Authority. In order to prove this Mr. Dunlap needed to satisfy the four-fifths rule.
The four-fifths rule states, “A selection rate for any race, sex, or ethnic group which is less than four-fifths (4/5) (or eighty percent) of the rate for the group with the highest rate will generally be regarded by the Federal enforcement agencies. With the evidence of adverse impact, while a greater than four-fifths rate will generally not be regarded by Federal enforcement agencies, as evidence of adverse impact” (EEOC Uniform Employee Selection Guidelines Procedures). In this case, Mr. Dunlap was unsuccessful in proving his claim, and that is why the courts ruled that Mr. Dunlap did not present evidence that the practices used in his interview were ever used for any hiring decisions. No statistical proof could be show that a protected group was adversely impacted. Explain why the plaintiff’s disparate treatment claim succeed? In order for Mr. Dunlap to win he had to prove that Tennessee Valley Authority committed these specific things; 1.) Mr. Dunlap had to establish a prima facie case of racial discrimination. Then the employer must articulate some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its actions (Walsh 2010, pg 210). The important step in this case understands exactly what pretext means and how it applies to the case at hand. Pretextual is something that is put forth to conceal the truth, the misleading appearance or behavior to cloak the real intention or state of affairs (Expert Law library). 2). Mr. Dunlap had to prove that the reason stated was pretextual. In this case, the courts saw that it was for the reasons listed below:
1. The selection committee determined that the interview would account for seventy percent of the applicant’s final score from an objective measurement towards a subjective measurement (Walsh 2010 pg. 211)
2. In the interviewing process, scores varied even on objective questions. Mr. Dunlap was giving lower scores when he was only out a few days due to family illness, he received a 3.7. When we look at the two white applicants, in contrast they received 4.2 and 5.5 for the same answer. Mr. Dunlap received a 4 on a perfect safety, while another applicant received a score of 6, when he had two accidents in eleven years (Walsh 2010 pg. 211).
3. Points were also awarded for politeness in answering the interview question, with and extra half-point awarded for answering “yes, ma’am” (Walsh 2010 pg. 211).
4. The “score balancing” process seemed to be manipulated, again in contravention of Tennessee Valley Authority policy (Walsh 2010 pg. 211). 5. In emails sent from the human resources director Cumberland plant explicitly states that interviewers should not award points for being a “diversity candidate.” The email also states that, it was of the important that before the interviews the definition of what ‘Outstanding,’ Well-Qualified,’ and ‘Qualified’ meant, and it needed to be documented and dated before the interview process (Walsh 2010 pg. 211). The Tennessee Valley Authority used a matrix process to score all applicants. According to our textbook, the district court found, however, that the interviewers placed candidates into categories after the interviews were finished and after the candidates had been ranked, ensuring that the number of “outstanding” applicants equaled exactly the number of job openings (Walsh 2010 pg. 2010). So many potholes and very gray areas were closed in the case Dunlap v. Tennessee Valley Authority.
The courts found significant evidence of pretext, with the most critical information the tampering with the matrix scoring, the courts found that the Tennessee Valley Authority used the selection process “to mask [TVA’S] preferential hiring process” and “to select one black applicant that would satisfy the Tennessee Valley Authority that would satisfy the Tennessee Valley Authority central management (Walsh 2010 pg. 2010). What should the TVA have done differently with regard to interviewing and selecting candidates for these jobs? Tennessee Valley Authority should have completed the whole process over from the beginning, from selection and hiring of its employees. Every one of the candidates should have been looked at for their merits and qualifications, not for anything else but that. The TVA should have determined what was going to be a good “fit” for the company and its organizational culture. Selection of any candidate starts with the characteristics of the job, that are specified such as, what are the qualifications needed, and any relevant work experience needed. It is very important that throughout the interview and selection process that the focus on the competencies are directly related to performing the job and reliability results are consistently using a systematic selection process that will yield the best candidate for the job. If Tennessee Valley Authority had followed these last steps then, the outcome would have been different. Conclusion
In the case of Dunlap v. Tennessee Valley Authority made decision that would satisfy their central management. Mr. Dunlap was used as a pawn, the Tennessee Valley Authority only had plans to hire one minority, and the minority that they hired, was only hired due to an EEOC complaint that was field by William Parchman another African American. The case also hung on pretextual evidence and if Mr. Dunlap could prove, under a disparate treatment, that there was “proof of discrimination”. Every applicant should be judge only by their skills and merit not if they meet the quota for a company, everyone should have a fair chance to be able to work in the United States of American.