College Degrees and Disparate Impact

by Jason Fertig

The fear of disparate-impact lawsuits over pre-employment tests likely contributed to employers’ using the college degree as a de facto screening mechanism for many jobs that diligent 18-year-olds can perform.

Yet, something still bothers me.

Why can’t someone file a disparate-impact lawsuit against any employer who requires a college degree as a prerequisite for employment? The connection between many bachelor’s degrees and job descriptions is questionable, and in five seconds anyone with access to Google can find that an overwhelming majority of people with college degrees are white.

I’ve never heard a good explanation for this inquiry. If you can tackle it, I’m all ears.