Bottom Line Defense in Title VII Actions: Supreme Court Rejection in Connecticut v. Teal and a Modified Approach
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants or employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The statute proscribes both intentional discrimination and facially neutral selection devices that disproportionately exclude members of minority groups from certain jobs and are unrelated to job performance. Proponents of the "bottom line defense" argue that even where the plaintiff proves that a particular step in the hiring or promotion process disparately affects minorities, title VII is not violated if the employer demonstrates that the result of the entire selection process, the bottom line, is nondiscriminatory.
The Supreme Court recently rejected the bottom line defense in Connecticut v. Teal. This Note examines that decision and proposes a modified bottom line defense, an approach that is more consistent with the aims of title VII.
David Yellen, Bottom Line Defense in Title VII Actions: Supreme Court Rejection in Connecticut v. Teal and a Modified Approach, 68 Cornell L. Rev. 735 (1982).