Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are the Uniform Guidelines obsolete?

It must be Uniform Guidelines week.

In my last post I talked about how the EEOC doesn't appear to have any intentions of changing them anytime soon.

Now, in the April '08 issue of TIP Dan Biddle makes an argument in favor of their continued relevance.

Biddle provides a useful mini-history of the Guidelines and sums up nicely why we care about them:

"This document has since been used in thousands of government enforcement and judicial settings where employers have been required to demonstrate that their selection procedures causing adverse impact are sufficiently “job related” by addressing the Guidelines requirements."

He also briefly reviews the differences between the Guidelines and the other "biggies" for employers, the SIOP Principles and the APA Standards. While the two latter documents are newer and generally more thorough in their treatment of issues such as validity, when it comes to legal challenges Biddle points out that the Guidelines have been referenced in hundreds of Title VII cases while the Principles and Standards have been collectively cited less than 40 times.

Biddle ends the article with an extended treatment of validity generalization and how the topic is treated by the Guidelines and courts (not well) compared to psychologists (better). He comes down in favor of the continued relevance of the Guidelines and questions whether they need to be updated at all.

Here's my favorite quote:

"If the first burden in Title VII settings (proving adverse impact) cannot be carried using evidence solely from external locations, it seems to follow that the second burden (proving validity) should likewise not be provable using only external evidence. One can only imagine the outcry of defense attorneys if government enforcement agencies or plaintiff attorneys were permitted to transport or generalize adverse impact into a local employer based on adverse impact that occurred “at some other location.”"

Good point. And good article.

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