Young & Rich (graded)
Young & Rich, Inc. is a retail clothing chain that markets to the higher end of the young adult market, with a “look” that’s intended as a crossover between “prep school” and “active adventurous.” Image is very important to Young & Rich (Y&R), and a great deal of money and attention has been spent over the years marketing Y&R’s distinctive image. For sales associates in its retail operations, the company seeks young adults (ages 16-early 30s) who are “good looking,” “clean cut” and have the “All-American-boy-or-girl-next-door” look. The company claims that this is driven by “business necessity,” in that Y&R’s customers are drawn to stores where the staff have the “look” they’ve come to associate with Y&R. The company will not hire anyone with a drug conviction or who is currently in drug rehab. Y&R also will not hire anyone who is a member of the Communist party.
The company advertises its retail sales associate positions widely and hires from all racial and ethnic groups, men and women. Virtually all of the sales associates at Y&R have “the Y&R look.” Of those who applied for available positions last year, 45% of white applicants were hired, 37% of African American applicants were hired, 40% of Hispanic applicants were hired, 100% of Native American applicants were hired (only two applied), and 49% of Asian applicants were hired. Though Y&R hires more women than men for its retail sales operation, the percentage of applicants hired is approximately the same for men and women. In looking at the composition of the retail store staff, however, it’s apparent that virtually all of the African American sales associates are light-skinned.
Desmonda, a dark-skinned African American, was denied a sales associate position at Y&R despite having retail sales background. Caroline, a Hispanic woman, was told she did not have “the look we are looking for” when she applied for a sales associate position. Chelsea, a white woman who spent 6 months in drug rehab last year was rejected for a job at Y&R. Ted, a white university student who is a member of the Communist Party, was denied employment with Y&R for that reason.
About 25% of those hired as retail associates at Y&R were encouraged to apply when approached by a Y&R representative. Traci is one such employee. She was with friends at the local mall one day (where there is also an Y&R store) and was approached, in the food court by a Y&R manager who encouraged her to apply for a sales associate position that had just opened up at the Y&R store. Traci buys Y&R clothing and likes “the look,” so she applied for the position that day and was hired. This same system is used to hire sales associates from all races and ethnic groups, men and women. Is there a problem with this hiring practice? Why or why not?
Rx Medical Supply (graded)
Rx Medical Supply(Rx), a company with just over 500 employees adopted a written Affirmative Action plan in the early 1990s. At that time, the company’s professional, managerial, and executive positions were held, overwhelmingly, by white males. White females constituted the bulk of the front office and clerical staff. Rx’s Affirmative Action plan was adopted voluntarily (not as the result of a court order). Under the plan, qualified women and minorities were strongly urged to apply for the company’s available positions, especially professional, managerial and executive positions. Since that time, a large number of women and minorities were hired for these positions. Rx’s approach was (and still is) to review the credentials of all applicants, and identify all those who meet the “base” standard of “qualified” for the position. At that point, the company separates the “white male” applicant pool from the “women and minorities” pool, and identifies the top candidate(s) in each pool. If there is only one position available, it is awarded to the “most qualified” candidate overall. When there are two openings available for the same position, one position is filled with the top candidate from the “white male” pool, the other with the top candidate from the “women and minorities” pool. If there are 3 openings available for the same position, they are filled by selecting the “most qualified” applicant in the “white male” pool, the most qualified woman in the “women and minorities pool” and the most qualified racial minority in the “women and minorities pool.” If there are more than 3 openings for the same position, this same approach is applied ad infinitum.
As a result of its Affirmative Action plan, Rx has substantially increased the number of women and minorities in its professional, managerial, and executive ranks. Women now hold 45% of these positions. African Americans hold 18% of these positions, and Hispanics hold 13%. Rx’s Affirmative Action plan has come under attack as of late for being both “no longer necessary” and “discriminatory.” Jason, a white male, was rejected for a top technical position at Rx even though his credentials and experience exceeded that of Jennifer, the top candidate from the “women and minorities” pool who was one of two people hired for the position (there were two openings). There is no dispute that both Jason and Jennifer had the base qualifications for the position.Is Rx Medical Supply’s Affirmative Action plan legally valid? Why or why not?