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Dunlap V. Tennessee Valley Authority

By Missdst Dec 11, 2011 1241 Words
What were the legal issues in this case?
In the case of Dunlap VS Tennessee Valley Authority, the legal issue that was presented was discrimination, disparate treatment and disparate impact.  According to the EEOC, race discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) unfavorably because he/she is of a certain race or because of personal characteristics associated with race (such as hair texture, skin color, or certain facial features). Color discrimination involves treating someone unfavorably because of skin color complexion.  The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination, and when it comes to the case, discrimination was seen in many ways.   For starters, when it came to the interviewing process, there were 5 white officials and 1 black which showed that the room was not balance.  Next, when it came to the scoring, he received lower scores than the whites. The next issue that showed discrimination was when it came to the attendance record of the workers.  Two of the workers who were Caucasian, had the same attendance as Dunlap, and they received a better ranking.  Also, Dunlap had a perfect safety record and received a score of a 4; while a white applicant who was at the job for eleven, had 2 accidents within those years and received a score of 6. Dunlap was not the only African American to have problems with TVA when it came to discrimination as well. The suit that was brought against TVA was for discrimination under disparate impact and treatment.  Disparate impact theory requires the plaintiff to demonstrate that the facility falls harshly on one group than another; disparate treatment requires the plaintiff to demonstrate that an employer has treated some people badly because of the race, age, gender or any other discrimination factor (Walsh, 2010). The district court found many filings along with the fact that Dunlap had been subjected to discrimination under both disparate treatment, concluding that TVA’s subjective hiring processes permitted racial bias against both Dunlap and other black applicants (Walsh, 2010).  According to the text subjective criteria is assessing candidates that are not uniform and clearly specified, and when it came to Dunlap and the facts that were presented subjective hiring was conducted.  The Appeals Court affirmed the disparate treatment claim, reversed the disparate impact claim, and affirmed the district court’s award of damages and fees to Mr. Dunlap (Walsh, 2010) Explain why the plaintiff's disparate (adverse) impact claim fail? The reason that disparate impact failed is because when it comes discriminatory actions in this theory, proof is not required.  The disparate impact theory requires a plaintiff to demonstrate that an apparently neutral employment practice affects one group more harshly than another and that the practice is not justified by business necessity. A prima face case is established when the plaintiff identifies a specific employment practice to be challenged; and through relevant statistical analysis proves that the challenged practice has an adverse impact on a protected group.  When it comes to the case, discrimination was seen, but never affects more than one class.  Glass ceiling in the book is referred to artificial barriers based on attitudinal or organizational bias that prevent qualified individuals from advancing in there organization to upper management.  The reason that glass ceiling is seen is because when it comes to the interviewing process, there was only 1 black interviewer.  Then when it came to the recruits, even if there work effort was poor and they were white, there scores was higher than the African Americans.  But because discrimination is a fact that is null and void in this theory and because discrimination doesn’t matter, that's why it failed.  The only criteria Mr. Dunlap could prove was that the interview process had been manipulated to exclude African-American candidates, and how the scoring was different for blacks and whites.  So in the essence in this theory, it was a challenge to prove it because Dunlap only had his interview Explain why the plaintiff's disparate treatment claim succeed? The reason disparate treatment was successful was because it requires a plaintiff to demonstrate that an employer has treated some people less favorably than others because of their race, color, religion, sex or national origin.  The first fact was the manipulating of the score. In this case, Dunlap was able to prove that the matrix process was pretext for discrimination.  After the district court did some investigation, they found that some of sheets had been changed more than 70 times, and there was no reason what so ever for the change.  Dunlap said the matrix score was manipulated to keep him out of the top ten applicants.   Another reason it was a success was because William Parchman, an African-American with thirty years of experience as a boilermaker that was also rejected.  He played a vital role in the suit because of the problems he encountered to become employed with TVA.  He provided testimony that he had a history of being rejected for jobs and promotions at the company.  He also stated that the only reason got the boilermaker position was after he filed a complaint with the EEOC. Other facts that showed discrimination was evidence before the district court when it came to the weight given to the interview and how it was changed, questions in the interview was not evaluated objectively, and the scores were altered to produce a racially biased result.  Bottom line is that when it comes to discrimination, it was proven in several ways, and the district court committed no error in finding disparate treatment. The court saw how discrimination was seen from different people, and Dunlap was not the only worker that felt that way. What should the TVA have done differently with regard to interviewing and selecting candidates for these jobs? When it comes to interviewing candidates, what's should of been done differently is looking at the applicants work history thoroughly.  The first thing that should have been looked at first is education. When workers have education, they are better qualified because they will know how to think outside if the box.  If an applicant didn't have the education, then TVP sould look at experience as well as work performance.  When looking at experience, factors that should be viewed are supervisory experience along with performance and safety in the workplace. In the interviewing process, things that could have been different is interviewing with one interviewer at a time. Also the questions could have been different for each interviewer so that everyone was not following the same pattern. All of the scores would be the same, but the questions would be different and give the best candidates for the job. Another thing that could have been different is having a manager present in the room to grab and check the papers when the interview is finish. By a manager being there to verifying the score, there is not chance that manipulating could happen with the scoring. If this type of approach would have been used, the selecting process would have been different because no interviewer or candidate would have the same response. But the scores would show the real qualified applicants, and they would deserve the promotion. Nothing would be bias and scores could not be altered.

Walsh, D. J. (2010). Employment law for human resource practice: 2010 custom edition (3rd). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

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