Supreme Court Decision Important to Employment Testing Profession

by July 3, 2009

Supreme Court Decision Important to Employment Testing ProfessionThroughout the Ricci v. DeStefano case, great attention has been paid to the nature and validity of the promotional exam given to New Haven’s firefighters. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, various news outlets have interviewed the firefighters, city officials and legal experts on the case, but few have sought comments from the designers and scientists who are among those instrumental in developing these employment tests.

Industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology is the scientific study of the workplace. Among numerous other areas of work and study, I-O psychologists are the primary scientists behind the development and research of employment tests and testing. These psychologists are experts on testing law, adverse impact, Title VII and the efficacy of different types of testing. A group of SIOP’s members were also cited in the dissenting opinion of this case, which referred to their research on employment testing and its validity.

Several I-O psychologists from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) are now available to the media to discuss the case, testing, testing law, what the decision means for employers, how to create valid tests, and what the decision means for the future of employment testing. Here is a brief list of the experts available:

Members Cited in Court Decision:

Wayne Cascio: the Robert Reynolds Chair in Global Leadership at the University of Colorado Denver Business School. He has published and testified extensively on issues relating to fire fighter promotion.

Herman Aguinis Aguinis is Dean’s Research Professor, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. He has researched and published widely on personnel selection. His Web site is

Other SIOP Experts:

David Arnold He is an employment attorney and I-O psychologist with Wonderlic Inc. in Libertyville, IL.

Gerald Barrett Barrett has more than 30 years experience in designing selection, testing, and promotional processes. He has also been involved in court cases involving testing and adverse impact.

Arthur Gutman: Professor of psychology at Florida Institute of Technology Gutman is the author of a book on EEO law and personnel practices and has been involved in several legal claims involving adverse impact.

Note: SIOP, as a society of industrial-organizational psychologists representing numerous opinions and perspectives, has taken no official position in favor of either party in the Ricci v. DeStefano case. The members listed above represent their own opinions as I-O psychologists who are also members of this international professional organization.

The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) is an international group of more than 7,400 industrial-organizational (I-O) psychologists whose members study and apply scientific principles concerning workplace productivity, motivation, leadership, and hiring practices. SIOP’s mission is to enhance human well-being and performance in organizational and work settings by promoting the science, practice and teaching of I-O psychology. For more information about SIOP, including a Media Resources service, which lists nearly 2,000 experts in more than 100 topic areas, visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email