White Firefighters Win Bias Case Over Test Results

2009

The U.S. Supreme Court rules, 5-4, that the city of New Haven, Conn., discriminated against white firefighters when it threw out the results of a promotion exam because a disproportionate number of white firefighters did well compared with black firefighters. The majority opinion says in Ricci v. DeStefano that fear of legal action by the minority firefighters was not a reason to discard the results. The ruling will make it more difficult for employers to throw out the results of hiring and promotion tests once they have been given, even if they have a disproportionately negative effect on minorities.