Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971)

Primary tabs

Griggs v Duke Power Co is a U.S. Supreme Court case in which it was established that neutral employment practices that have a discriminatory effect can violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, even if the employer did not intend to discriminate. It was held that the “objective of Congress in enacting provisions of Civil Rights Act pertaining to employment opportunities was to achieve equality of employment opportunities and remove barriers that operated in the past to favor an identifiable group…what is required by Congress is removal of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment when barriers operate invidiously to discriminate on basis of race or other impermissible classification.”

It was held that the policy of the employer setting a requirement for high school diploma and a certain score on an aptitude test disparately impacted African American applicants in violation of Title VII. 

[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]