Ricci v. DeStefano: Balancing Title VII Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact

Leveraging the Supreme Court's Guidance on Employment Testing and its Impact on Voluntary Compliance Actions

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, July 30, 2009

Course Materials

This seminar will analyze the Supreme Court's ruling in Ricci v. DeStefano and its impact on employers’ use of employment-related tests and other voluntary compliance programs. The panel will also discuss the burden of proof in future disparate impact or reverse discrimination lawsuits.


In Ricci v. DeStefano, a controversial reverse discrimination case involving promotion tests, the Supreme Court held that the employer lacked a strong basis in evidence to support refusing to certify test results to avoid potential disparate impact liability.

The Court ruled that mere fear of a disparate impact lawsuit is insufficient to justify a discriminatory employment action that is race based. However, the Court refused to issue a bright-line test for employers facing employment actions with a clear disparate impact.

The decision does provide guidance for employers and their counsel with regard to voluntary compliance actions that risk a disparate treatment lawsuit, though it does not fully resolve the uncertainties employers face in reconciling their conflicting obligations under Title VII.

Listen as our authoritative panel of employment attorneys analyzes this landmark ruling and its impact on employment-related tests and other voluntary compliance measures.



  1. Analysis of Supreme Court’s ruling
  2. Impact of ruling on employment standards and voluntary compliance programs
    1. Use of employment tests
    2. Other employment standards
    3. Reductions in force
    4. Affirmative action plans
    5. Diversity plans
  3. Impact of decision on future litigation
    1. Employer’s burden of proof for disparate impact cases
    2. Standards for motion for summary judgment
    3. Steps to reduce risk of litigation


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • Is the Court's ruling limited to employment-related tests or does it have a broader application to other employment decisions?
  • Does the Ricci decision change the burden of proof in disparate impact cases?
  • What steps should employers take with respect to existing or future employment-related tests and voluntary compliance measures in light of the Supreme Court's decision?


Teresa R. Tracy
Teresa R. Tracy
Berger Kahn

She represents companies nationwide in wrongful termination litigation, discrimination claims, wage and hour claims,...  |  Read More

William D. Deveney
William D. Deveney

Elarbee Thompson Sapp & Wilson

His practice focuses on defense of employment-related claims and he provides employment-related training and proactive...  |  Read More

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