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Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody

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Significance: Based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, the Supreme Court found that an employer's screening tests were discriminatory and that the employer must provide back pay for employees who suffered monetary loss due to racial discrimination.


African American employees in a North Carolina paper mill, the Albemarle Paper Company, charged that the company's preemployment tests and seniority system perpetuated the discrimination that had existed before the passage of Title VII, and they sought back pay relief. By a 7-1 vote, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the employees. Because the tests were judged to be not sufficiently job related to be valid, they had to be discontinued. The awarding of back pay, moreover, provided an appropriate incentive for compliance with the law. The Albemarle Paper Co. decision provided a useful framework for resolving numerous claims under Title VII.