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Griggs v. Duke Power Co. 401 U.S. 424 (1971)
Transcript of Griggs v. Duke Power Co. 401 U.S. 424 (1971)
One of 13 African-American employees who filed a discrimination suit against Duke Power Co. alleging they were violating Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
It is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion ("Know Your Rights: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act", 2014).
The overt racial discrimination in the company had ended after the Civil Rights Act. Title VII was prospective only, and the prior inequities were beyond corrective action ("U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Griggs vs. Duke PowerCo.", 2014).
Court of Appeals
Reaffirmed the District Court's decision, there was not a discriminatory purpose in the job requirements but dissented on the record of the testing
"Under the Act, practices, procedures, or tests neutral on their face, and even neutral in terms of intent, cannot be maintained if they operate to "freeze" the status quo of prior discriminatory employment practices" ("U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Griggs vs. Duke PowerCo.", 2014).
Griggs v. Duke Power Co. 401 U.S. 424 (1971)
The tests were not job specific, rather they were used to continue the discrimination. The whites, who were grandfathered in before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, continued to perform satisfactorily and received promotions in the operating departments ("U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Griggs vs. Duke PowerCo.", 2014).
Did Duke Power Company's interdepartmental transfer policy, requiring a high school education and the achievement of minimum scores on two separate aptitude tests, violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
The Supreme Court and Congress are required to remove artificial, arbitrary, and unofficial barriers to employment when the barriers operate invidiously to discriminate on the basis of racial or other impermissible classification (Long, 2008).
Knowing what we know about the education of Blacks during this time period, what were some of the implications from the Duke Power testing?
Brief Video on Griggs v. Duke Power Co.
Historically, Duke Power segregated blacks to work in the labor department and whites to operations departments.
The highest paying job in labor was less than the lowest paying job in operations. The discrimination was based on an IQ test, an aptitude test and a high school diploma (Long, 2013).
The Final Ruling...
By: Whitney Anderson, Molly Milster, Brittany Sloan, Jenee Elliot, Chris Eberhart , Leanne McMillen, and Lauren Moore
The Supreme Court ruled against Duke Power Co. In its ruling the Supreme Court explained that Title VII does not prohibit tests for employment, but they need to be properly developed and used. But with this case the employer could not show that these tests fulfilled a genuine business need and that it was a valid measure of an applicant's ability to learn or perform the job in question (NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., n.d.).
Know Your Rights: Title VII of the. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://www.aauw.org/what-we-do/legal-resources/know-your-rights-at-work/title-vii/
Long, D. (2008, March 26). Employment Testing. Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://corporate.findlaw.com/litigation-disputes/employment-testing.html
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (n.d.). Landmark: Griggs v. Duke Power Co. | NAACP LDF. Retrieved from http://www.naacpldf.org/case/griggs-v-duke-power-co
Rock, N. (2013, August 23). Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971). Retrieved October 8, 2014, from
U.S. Supreme Court U.S. Griggs vs. Duke PowerCo. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=401&invol=424
Warren E. Burger, 1969-1986. (2007, March 27). Retrieved October 8, 2014, from http://supremecourthistory.org/timeline_burger.html
Video from (Rock, 2013)