Sept. 6, 2004
The Griggs v. Duke Power Company was a landmark case regarding discrimination in the workplace. Duke Power Company was known for discriminating against blacks during the hiring process by only allowing them to work in it’s labor department which was the lowest paying position. After the Civil Rights Act was passed, obviously the company was no longer allowed to discriminate legally based on race. However, the company became sneaky and required a high school diploma for employment. This, in turn eliminated a lot of potential black employees because a majority of them did not have high school diplomas. This really became an issue when Griggs applied for a position, but it was denied because he did not have a high school diploma. This was brought up to the Supreme Court and they ruled in favor of Griggs for the following reasons. First of all, the court ruled that discrimination does not have to be intentional to be present. Discrimination can be illegal even when applied evenly to everyone. So, in this case, even though high school diplomas were required for everyone, it gave black individuals a severe disadvantage and in turn limited their opportunities for employment. Secondly, the court ruled that employment practices must be job related. So although a high school diploma was required for this position, it wasn’t job related. If it is not related to the job, it can be used, but it must be directly related to job success. In this case, a high school diploma had no direct relationship to the success of the job.
This case was significant in the fact that it further helped the Civil Right Movement in the fact that discrimination laws were much more specific. After the Civil Rights Act was passed, before the Griggs case, discrimination was still a very real possibility in the workplace. Companies were able to find the loopholes and still able to discriminate even though race was not directly an issue as with the Griggs...
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