discrimination scenario | Law homework help

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JOHN LUCAS: When I found that Doug and Sam’s names hadn’t been put on the

certification list yet, we got a little worried. These two guys are some of our best. They grew

up together. They joined the department together. I mean, they had the top two scores.

PATRICK DOUGLAS: Doug and I were talking about this promotion thing, about how he’s

waiting on word to come down from the city. He acts cool about it but I know it means a lot

to him. He’s super competitive, especially with Sam. Back when they were in high school,

Sam got chosen as valedictorian, Doug got salutatorian. It’s pretty impressive considering

English is Doug’s second language. When they tested to get on the department, Doug got

the top score and Sam got second. If it was my decision, they’d both get promoted in a


BRANDON CARTER: Sam? Yeah, he told me he hadn’t heard anything yet and I know he

was counting on that promotion. He just got married over the summer, wanted to start a

family, you know, house, kids, picket fence, all of that. It’s tough to find a spot in a nice

neighborhood on what he makes now.

JOHN LUCAS: We’re still waiting on word from the city about whether they’re going to add

Sam and Doug’s names to the certification list. I really hope they do and I would really hate

for this thing to become a distraction since we got guys from all different backgrounds.

When you’re running into a burning building, your skin color doesn’t matter. We’re all

brothers here.


















Complete the Discrimination Scenario Simulation involving a discrimination issue at the workplace and associated legal issues.

 Write responses to the decision points embedded in the simulation.


This is the city of Davis: a growing community with just one fire department. The city still has a small-town feel, but its growth is largely due to a steady stream of immigrants drawn by the service economy. Diffusing the racial tension in Davis has become one of the City Council’s top priorities.

Although it’s not clear in the story whether an associate’s degree is a precondition for taking the exam, in your opinion, should a degree be a requirement to sit for the exam?


Both firefighters passed the exam and earned the first and second highest scores, respectively. Now they wait to hear whether they’ve been added to the certification list. Only Firefighters whose names are on the certification list are eligible for promotion.

Based on the fact that Doug (White) and Sam (Black) earned the first and second highest test scores, is it a reasonable assumption that the city of Davis will add Doug and Sam to the certification list?


The city of Davis adds Sam’s name to the certification list. However, they didn’t add Doug’s name, citing inadequate numbers of minority candidates being in line for promotion from the testing. Sam filed a claim of racial discrimination at the EEOC under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

In its defense, the City claimed that adding Sam’s name to the certification list would have subjected it to liability to minorities for “disparate impact.” In response Sam pointed out that the Department enjoyed generally harmonious race relations, and that no prior, credible claim of discrimination had been filed against it in several decades.

Can the City successfully defend itself on the basis of “disparate impact?”


Under what circumstances may racial discrimination be proved by “disparate impact?”

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