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1971 Griggs v. Duke Power Co.
Transcript of 1971 Griggs v. Duke Power Co.
Design, Cynthia Frank, ed. Charlotte North Carolina. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. <http://www.fergusonstein.com/index.php?sectionId=4&subId=7&pos=0>.
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1971 Griggs v. Duke Power Co.
Ruling and Outcome
Supreme Court unanimously disagreed with Duke Power Co. employees.
Supreme Court claimed that the employees violated Title VII because the required tests were not used to measure the applicants ability to learn or perform the job. Title VII does not prohibit the use of tests or diploma requirements for hiring or promotions when they are used to evaluate the applicants' ability for the job.
The ruling of this case transformed our nation's work requirements
Cannot put whites before blacks
All people that apply must have an equal opportunity to obtain the job
The Court concluded that the purpose of these requirements was to protect Duke's long-standing policy of giving job preferences to its white employees.
Also, the criteria for the job was unrelated because a worker did not need a high school diploma or high IQ in order to work the machinery and press buttons
Case lasted for a year: December 14, 1970 - March 8, 1971
13 African Americans vs. employers at Duke Power Co. (power-generating facility)
Willie Griggs filed a class action on behalf of the 13 men (including himself)
they sued the plant in North Carolina, arguing that the plants' requirement of a high school education or passing a standardized intelligence test in order to fill jobs other than in the labor department was discriminatory.
they stated that the requirement disqualified black applicants more than white applicants.
the employers at the plant said that the requirements served as a legitimate business purpose.
Duke Power Co. had openly discriminated on the basis of race in the hiring and assigning of employees at its Dan River plant before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
After Congress passed Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Duke Power Co. stopped openly expressing discrimination based on race and instead required a high school diploma or scores on standardized IQ tests equal to those of an average high school graduate.
Title VII prohibits any employment discrimination against race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.
The criteria disqualified more African-Americans than whites
Duke Power is organized into 5 operating departments: (1) Labor, (2) Coal Handling, (3) Operations, (4) Maintenance, and (5) Laboratory and Test.
Negros only allowed to work in Labor Department and only whites worked in the other 4 sections: the salary of the highest paying job in the department was still less than the lowest paying job in another department.
This case was the first interpretation of the Employee Discrimination Provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the first cut of the issue of testing for jobs.
Before this case, African-Americans were forced to work in the labor department, where the highest-paid worker earned less than the lowest paid employee in the other four departments where only whites worked.
Now, after the Griggs v. Duke Power Co., there cannot be discrimination against any applicants and everyone will have an equal opportunity at obtaining the job being advertised not matter race, religion, or gender. Also the job applicant tests must be related to the job and not be made just for an excuse to not hire a certain person.
resulted in “disparate impact” theory- used in cases to eliminate discrimination of race in employment opportunity
In the book
To Kill a Mockingbird
there is a similar trial where African American, Tom Robinson, is wrongly accused by white person, Bob Ewell, of committing a crime. Bob Ewell discriminates against Tom Robinson because he is African American.
In Griggs vs. Duke Power Co. ,Willie Griggs stood up for the African Americans who were being unfairly treated by accusing the employers at Duke Power Co. of violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
At state court, the judge saw no discrimination of African-Americans at Duke Power Co, but the supreme court gave them a certiorari and the Supreme Court was in favor of the African Americans, which shows that there was discrimination against the 13 African-Americans like Tom Robinson.
Duke Power Co. certificate of money
other court cases about racial discrimination around that time period:
Jones v. Mayer Co. (1968)
The Court held in this case that federal law bars all racial discrimination (private or public), in sale or rental of property.
Lau v. Nichols (1973)
The Court found that a city school system's failure to provide English language instruction to students of Chinese ancestry amounted to unlawful discrimination.
Equality for all
Warren E. Burger
(the judge of the case)
Discrimination in Employment