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THE DIVERSITY–VALIDITY DILEMMA: OVERVIEW AND LEGAL CONTEXT

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Due to racioethnic and sex subgroup differences on predictor scores in many selection procedures, it is difficult for organizations to simultaneously maximize the validity of their selection procedures and hire a diverse workforce. One response to this diversity–validity dilemma is to revise the selection procedures, an approach developed by Ployhart and Holtz (this issue, 2008). A second possible response is to use affirmative action to increase workforce diversity, an approach developed by Kravitz (this issue, 2008). This paper briefly presents the legal context that motivates and constrains these approaches. We begin by defining key terms, describing adverse impact, and outlining the burden of proof in adverse impact cases. We then turn to the use of racioethnic minority and female preferences, summarizing some key court decisions and the conditions under which private and public employers may use preferences.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Fisher and Phillips LLP 2: University of South Carolina 3: George Mason University

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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