by Michael Fox
Government employers are often thought of as being bureaucratic in their processes. Thankfully for the Michigan Treasury Department, this time it paid off when two of their management promotion selections were challenged by white applicants, who lost the positions to minorities. Using statistics comparing the number of positions held by minorities to the size of the qualified minority workforce, at least one of the potential candidates was able to show a question as to whether this was the "unusual employer" who discriminated in favor of the minority against the majority. Fortunately, the rather laborious (sounding at least) selection process, which involved pre-selection written questions, an oral interview and interviews with each of the applicants supervisors', all of which involved both structured questions and model answers, plus a scoring of past performance appraisals defeated any finding that there was discriminatory intent. Sutherland v. Michigan Dept. of Treasury (6th Cir. 9/18/03).