Firefighter Ruling Leaves Guidelines as Muddy as Ever
Employers likely to ditch written tests altogether to avoid discrimination suits
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2009 7:47 AM CDT
Attorney Karen Torre, center speaks with Frank Ricci, front right, the lead plaintiff in the the "New Haven 20" firefighter reverse discrimination case.   (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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(Newser) – Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling in favor of a group of white firefighters looks likely to be a boon for employment lawyers instead of cities seeking clear guidance, experts tell the New York Times. The court's ruling makes it harder for employers to chuck out tests that overwhelmingly favor whites, and many are expected to instead revamp their entire selection process to avoid discrimination suits.

"The ruling gives employers less flexibility to change the selection process once it’s established,” one employment lawyer said. “As a result, employers will want to try to establish bulletproof selection criteria.” Many cities are already moving away from using written tests in favor of assessment centers where applicants for hiring or promotion are judged on their ability to handle simulated real-life situations.