Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Central City Makes a Promotion - Part B

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Central City Makes a Promotion - Part B

Article excerpt


The primary subject matter of this case concerns the alleged discriminatory employment practices within a governmental agency. Secondary issues examined include the development and application of affirmative action plans affecting several protected classes and management policies to insure equal employment opportunity. The case has a difficulty level of four, appropriate for upper level undergraduate and graduate students. The case is designed to be taught in three class hours and is expected to require three hours of outside preparation by students.


Are Affirmative Action Plans meaningful guidelines to employment decisions? Or, are these plans merely an exercise in satisfying legislative directives? What is an equal opportunity employment environment? The Central City Police Department faces these questions concerning their recent employment practices. More specifically, what is the department's justification for not promoting the individual with the second highest score on the promotion test? How can an employee with excellent performance evaluations and a clean discipline record not be promoted? Could it be that the individual was a woman? Does the work environment penalize women? Finally, are supervisors and employees appropriately trained and supervised regarding employment discrimination issues?

This case explores the integration of women into a predominately white male work environment. For example, the organization as a whole (i.e., city government) has developed affirmative action plans for over a decade. Only in the last several years has the branch level (i.e., police department) developed separate goals addressing their specific operation. Branch managerial decisions over the years did not eliminate discriminatory practices. In fact, branch management faced separate lawsuits from African American and then Hispanic employees over employment discrimination issues based on race. Now, branch management faces the integration of an additional protected class within the workforce. Will they follow their previous managerial behavior?

[NOTE: This case is a fictionalized version of a real-life situation. Names and other potentially identifying information have been changed to protect identities. The applicable fact situation is true to the real case.]



This case can be used in a variety of undergraduate and graduate classes. The authors believe that it fits into any of the following courses: Principles of Management, Human Resource Management, Business Ethics, Business Law and Employment Law. The analysis of the case can be from a managerial or a legal perspective. The case has also been successfully used in an Organizational Communications class.

The learning objectives for this case are:

1. Students should be able to summarize the purposes of an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP).

2. Students should be able to summarize the necessity for employment discrimination policies and procedures within an organization.

3. Students should be able to analyze a situation for disparate impact and a disparate treatment employment discrimination practices.

4. Students should be able to apply the 4/5ths or 80% rule in evaluating a fact situation.

5. Students should be able to synthesize managerial alternatives to alleviate employment discrimination within the workplace.


Students may find the following U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Justice resources on affirmative action and equal employment opportunity useful:


What is the purpose of an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP)? Is this a regulatory document prescribed to address past actions? Is this a document that guides recruitment and promotion opportunities? …

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