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Hiring, Firing and Discrimination

Two Companies operated salmon canneries in remote areas of Alaska, which canneries functioned only during the summer salmon runs. There were two general types of jobs at the canneries: cannery line jobs, which were unskilled positions, and "noncannery" jobs, which were prodominantly skilled positions but varied from engineers to bookkeepers to cooks and boat crew members. The cannery workers were predominatly nonwhite, mainly Filipinos, whom the companies hired through a hiring hall agreement with a predominantly Filipino union local in Seattle, and Alaska Natives, hired from villages near the canneries. The noncannery workers were predominantly white and were hired during the winter through the companies' office in Washington and Oregon. Virtually all of the noncannery jobs paid more than the cannery jobs, and noncannery workers used dormitory and mess hall facilities that were separate from and allegedly superior to those of cannery workers. A class of nonwhite cannery wrkers who were employed at the canneries in question brought action against the companies in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, which action charged the companies with employment discrimination on the basis of race in voilation of a provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, it was alleged that the racial stratification of the work force was caused by several of the companies' hiring and promotion practices, including a rehire preference, a lack of objective hiring criteria, the separate hiring channels, and a practice of not promoting from within...
On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court...held that (1) racial imbalance in one segment of an employer's work force is not sufficient to establish a prima facie case of disparate impact with respect to the selection of workers for the employer's other positions; (2) in this case, the comparison between percentage of cannery workers who are nonwhite and the percentage of noncannery workers who are nonwhite did not make a prima facie disparate-impact case; (3) the plantiff in such case bears the burden od isolating and identifying the specific employment practices that are allegedly responsible for any observed statistical disparities; and (4) if the plantiff establishes a prima facie disparate-impact case, the employer bears the burden of producing evidence of a business justification for its employment practice, but the burden of persuasion on this issue remains with the plaintiff.
Blackmun, J., joined by Brennan and Marshall,JJ., dissented, expressing the view that the opinion of the court took three major strides backwards in the battle against racial discrimination by (1) upsetting the long-standing distribution of burdens of proff in Title VII disparate-impact cases; (2) barring the use of internal work force comparisons in making of a prima facie case of discrimination, even where the structure of the industry in question rendered any other statistical comparison meaningless; and (3) requiring practice-by practice statistical proff of causation, even where such proff would be impossible.

Based on this case, propose new hiring practices for the company to follow. In your proposal, be sure to address the following:

Do you feel the current hiring practices are discriminatory? Why or why not? What policies should be adopted?
Is there a correlation between the hiring practices for cannery workers and noncannery workers? Should the practices be the same or separate, even though the positions are different?
Is it an acceptable practice for the cannery to rehire skilled noncannery workers it has worked with previously? Is it acceptable even if the noncannery workers are predominantly white?

Based on this case, propose new hiring practices for the company to follow. In your proposal, be sure to address the followin

1. Do you feel the current hiring practices are discriminatory? Why or why not? What policies should be adopted?

2. Is there a correlation between the hiring practices for cannery workers and noncannery workers? Should the practices be the same or separate, even though the positions are different?

3. Is it an acceptable practice for the cannery to rehire skilled noncannery workers it has worked with previously? Is it acceptable even if the noncannery workers are predominantly white?

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Solution Summary

Based on this case, propose new hiring practices for the company to follow. In your proposal, be sure to address the followin

1. Do you feel the current hiring practices are discriminatory? Why or why not? What policies should be adopted?

2. Is there a correlation between the hiring practices for cannery workers and noncannery workers? Should the practices be the same or separate, even though the positions are different?

3. Is it an acceptable practice for the cannery to rehire skilled noncannery workers it has worked with previously? Is it acceptable even if the noncannery workers are predominantly white?

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