HR Guide to the Internet:
Job Analysis: Law/Legal Issues: Court Cases

One of the most important court cases involving job analysis was Griggs v. Duke Power. This case outlines the need for conducting an analysis of the job for which a selection procedure has been developed. In this case, the court emphasized that a selection device should measure the person for the job, not the person in the abstract.

Commenting in this case on Title VII of the the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the court stated:

  • Nothing in the Act precludes the use of testing or measuring procedures; obviously they are useful. What Congress has forbidden is giving these devices and mechanisms controlling force unless they are demonstrably a reasonable measure of job performance...What Congress has commanded is that any tests used must measure the person for the job and not the person in the abstract

In Kirkland v. New York State Department of Correctional Services, the Court noted that the State was not able to show the job relatedness of a selction test. The Court noted that there was no adequate job analysis.

In Albermarle Paper Company v. Moody, the U.S. Supreme Court reinforced the concept of job relatedness. In supporting earlier court decisions, the Court emphasized the need for data on all jobs.

  • A test may be used in jobs other than those for which it has been professionally validated only if there are no significant differences between the studied and unstudied jobs.

In summary, the major influences by Courts on Job Analysis are as follows:

  • "Congress [has] placed on the employer (in the Civil Rights Act of 1964) the burdon of showing that any given [selection] requirement must have a manifest relationship to the employment [job] in question."
  • "[G]ood intent or absence of discriminatory intent does not redeem employment procedures or testing mechanisms that operate as built-in headwinds...Congress directed the thrust of the Act (Title VII) to the consequences of employment practices, not simply the motivation." Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 432, 91 S. Ct. 849, 28 L.Ed.2d 158 (1971).
  • Congress has commanded "...that any tests used must measure the person for the job and not the person in the abstract." (Griggs v. Duke Power)
  • Identification of the relative importance of the skills and tasks involved in a job and the competency required for the various aspects of a position are essential functions of a job analysis. (Kirlkand v. New York State Department of Correctional Services)
  • "The cornerstone in the construction of a content valid examination is the job analysis." (Kirlkand v. New York State Department of Correctional Services)
  • "Job relatedness cannot be proven through vague and unsubstantiated hearsay." (Albermarle Paper Company v. Moody)
  • Limiting job analysis to selected jobs, that are unrepresentative of the full range of work performed, is inadequate for test development. (Albermarle Paper Company v. Moody)

While a job analysis alone does not provide insurance against litigation, it is a key element in designing human performance management and development systems that can stand up to legal challenges.


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