Dunlap V. Tennessee Valley Authority

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Dunlap v. Tennessee Valley Authority
Melissa Keels
Strayer University
Dr. LaQue Perkins
Business Employment Law HRM 510

What was the legal issue in this case? The legal issue in the case in Dunlap v. Tennessee Valley Authority is that the U.S Court of Appeals for the sixth Circuit was to determine if the plaintiff, David Dunlap, had met the criteria of if Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was liable under the Title VII if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 intentionally of discriminating against him while in his interview process. He wanted to see if it was under the both the disparate treatment as well as disparate impact analyses this was to see whether TVA would appeal to the District Court and if legally supported to reverse their decision. David Dunlap brought suit under Title VII, alleging racial discrimination by the TVA. The district court found that Dunlap had been subjected to discrimination under both disparate treatment and disparate impact analyses, concluding that TVA’s subjective hiring processes permitted racial bias against both Dunlap and other black applicants (Walsh, 2010). 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 failed?
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. Under this theory, proof of discriminatory intent is not required. Although the district court concluded that TVA’s interview process had been manipulated to exclude African-American candidates in general, the court of appeals disagreed, citing the lack of statistical proof demonstrating that a protected group was adversely affected establishing a “prima facie” case(Walsh, 2010). Mr. Dunlap couldn’t prove his claim by only challenging the process used in his own interview therefore he didn’t provide the correct amount of proof to say that this company intentionally does this to certain candidates. The District Court finding proved that TVA interview procedures were discriminator as they excluded African American applicants in general.
Explain why the plaintiff’s disparate treatment claims succeed? The claim of disparate treatment that Dunlap had made was successful because the court found out the scoring of the interview process done by TVA have been influenced by the committee( Walsh, 2010). In addition, the scoring was being altered to favor white candidates. It was found that TVA used candidates who score “100%” to fill in their vacant positions. TVA was unable to prove that what prompted them to alter the scores was because of a need to fill a diversity position; especially since an email from Human Resources stated that they did not have authority to alter scores of candidates ( Walsh, 2010). Additionally, candidates had a right to be informed of the interview process and the representation of scores. This is the sort of interview process that should reflect the majority of companies today. So using this method that used wasn’t right in the way they handled the different candidates.