Employment law case analysis – case 4
A group of black police officers filed suit against the City of Little Rock, Arkansas, alleging racial discrimination by the Police Department in promotion of officers. The promotions were made by selecting those officers who were ranked highest on a composite score ranking list based on the score on a written exam and the weighted score from a personal interview. The interview was conducted by senior officers who were all whites, and the scoring was done subjectively by those officers. The black officers produced evidence that showed that blacks averaged a score of 39.6 on the written exam, while white officers averaged a score of 38.5; for the personal interview, blacks were given an average score of 12.96 points, while whites were given an average score of 14.38 points. The effect of the composite ranking of the two scores for candidates for promotion was that, because of the personal interview, blacks, on average, went down fourteen positions on the composite ranking, while whites, on average, went up one position. Because promotions were made based on relative ranking by composite score, blacks were not likely to be promoted; indeed, the department had only one black officer promoted above sergeant in its history.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 addresses racial discrimination in the work place. It holds that, employers are prohibited from failing to provide benefits, promotions, or opportunities, to an employee because of their race (Congress, 1964). In our case study, the system used to promote the police officers in the City of Little Rock, Arkansas is quite discriminative. The system is in two form and the blacks scored highly in one form and poorly in the other one. The problem lies in the personal interview…