“During the first twenty years of Title VII’s life, many legal issues were generated including questions about the various theories of liability and about the scope of administrative and judicial procedures and of remedies. Unquestionably, one of the most important legal issues under Title VII was whether the statute would reach practices ‘fair in form but discriminatory in operation.’ This issue was resolved in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., [401 U.S. 424 (1971)] some five years after Title VII’s effective date. In Griggs, the Supreme Court held that employment practices cannot be maintained if they have a discriminatory effect on a protected class which is not justified by business necessity. This concept of adverse impact became a powerful weapon in the hands of civil rights attorneys.”

Source: Linda S. Greene. Twenty Years Of Civil Rights: How Firm A Foundation? 37 Rutgers L. Rev. 707,721. 1984-1985. 


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