Expert Testimony on Employment Discrimination Ruled Admissible—Leads to Settlement News Feed

Ninety days after testimony from Nathan Associates’ expert economist David Sharp was ruled admissible by Judge Jon Phipps McCalla in EEOC v. Paramount Staffing Inc., W.D. Tenn., No. 2:06-cv-02624, 5/17/10, the defendants settled the case without going to trial.

Dr. Sharp’s testimony was criticized by opposing counsel’s expert, Dr. Mary Dunn Baker, on methodological grounds. The judge, however, found Baker’s criticism unconvincing  and Sharp’s methodology and conclusions admissible as trial testimony.

In 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Paramount under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on behalf of African Americans seeking unskilled labor positions at Technicolor’s Memphis Oaks facility in Memphis, Tennessee. Sharp had two tasks in presenting testimony. Reasonably assuming only two groups seeking employment (Hispanics and African Americans),

(1) Identify Hispanic representation in the relevant labor market, and
(2) Identify the number of Hispanic employees placed at Memphis Oaks.

Showing a statistically significant difference between representation in the market and employment at Memphis Oaks, Dr. Sharp concluded that Hispanic “overrepresentation” at Memphis Oaks had a less than one percent chance of occurring without discrimination.

Baker contended that Sharp’s data and analysis were unreliable, yet, as McCalla, pointed out, Paramount had “created” the data problem by securing a protective order on applicant flow data that necessitated using EEO-1 and U.S. Census data. In addition, Sharp’s use of EEO-1 data was well supported by case law and review articles.

For more details see:
Decision/Consent Decree (PDF)
Order Denying Exclusion of Sharp's Testimony (PDF)
EEOC summary of case (external link)

A detailed summary of the decision is available to BNA subscribers at BNA Expert Evidence Report, 10 EXER 216 or online at Expert Evidence Report: News Archives > 2010 > 06/21/2010 > Admissibility > Statistics: Data Show Staffing Firm Treated Hispanics More Favorably Than Blacks, Court Decides

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