Goebel et al. v. Frank Clothiers
DESIGNING, MANAGING, AND EVALUATING
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Read the background information on Goebel et al. v. Frank Clothiers provided below. Assume that you are the HR manager for Frank Clothiers and have been asked to respond to the issues described in the case. Prepare responses to the questions below to share with the management team in your organization.
Goebel et al. v. Frank Clothiers
The southern California division of Frank Clothiers had 7 openings for assistant store manager last year and, as part of its affirmative action plan, filled the vacancies with 4 African-Americans and 3 whites. The selection process was a multiple hurdle approach that began with an application form and an intelligence test. Applicants who scored 60 (out of 100) or higher on the intelligence test were then given an interview by the store managers. Based on the interview ratings, the 7 vacancies were filled.
The numbers of African-Americans and whites who passed the intelligence test were as follows:
Table 1 African-American White
Test scores Applicants Applicants
Number scoring 60 or higher 25 74
Number scoring less than 60 26 29
Totals 51 103
Additionally, the representation of both groups in the local population and in the Assistant Store Manager position at Frank Clothiers is as follows:
Table 2 Total African-Americans Whites
Population of local area 327,000 26,160 268,140
Number of individuals in 150 6 128
Assistant Store Manager position
*Numbers do not add up to the totals due to only two racial classes being considered.
Dennis Goebel, one of the African-American applicants who scored 39 on the test, filed suit on behalf of all African-American applicants who failed the exam. Mr. Goebel claimed race discrimination based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Frank Clothiers argued that over 50% of the actual managerial vacancies were filled with African-Americans (i.e., 4 out of 7). Thus, there is obviously no racial discrimination in the selection process.
- If Mr. Goebel and other African-American applicants were victims of discrimination, what type of discrimination case would this be (adverse impact or disparate treatment)? Support your answer. Why do you believe it would be an adverse impact or disparate treatment case?
- Use the 4/5ths rule to determine if there is evidence of discrimination. Calculate the selection ratios for each of the groups and then determine whether there is evidence of discrimination using the 4/5ths rule criterion. Show your math. I want to see your calculations. (Look at the numbers selected for interviews based on intelligence test scores in Table 1).
- Analyze the stock statistics in Table 2 and determine the representation of each group in the population and in the Frank Clothiers organization. Are there any representation problems for the groups in the Assistant Store Manager position given their representation in the local population? Show your math and calculations.
- Is there evidence of discrimination against African-Americans in the use of the intelligence test? Did the use of the intelligence test adversely affect their chances of getting to the interview stage of the selection process?
- If discrimination is evident, what steps should Frank Clothiers take to defend themselves against the lawsuit? What steps might they take to avoid adverse impact in the future?
- An associate of the HR department argues that Frank Clothiers should continue to use the test but that the test scores should be interpreted by the race classification of the test taker. For example, raw scores on the exam would be converted to percentages within each race. With such a procedure, African-Americans taking the test who receive the exact raw score as whites would receive a higher percentage score on the exam because of the race interpretation. This procedure is called race norming. He argues that this procedure could enable Frank Clothiers to continue using a valid test while avoiding adverse impact. Take a position on this recommendation. Is it a good idea or not?
This assignment is to be completed individually. Your answers should be typed and should be concise and well stated.