Cognitive Screening is Legal, the last holdout of wokeness

From Richard Hanania’s post Against Idealism, this passage stood out:

No one in the 1960s ever said “You know, I just read Marcuse and, given his influence in intellectual circles, I can predict that in future decades we’ll have a country where you can’t have standardized tests in hiring and corporations will praise dead black criminals, but capitalism will be safe and economic inequality will be just as extreme as ever.” In contrast, Goldwater did in fact foresee the ultimate impacts of the Civil Rights Act:

I agree regarding how civil rights legislation of the 50s and 60s opened a can of worms of regulation and government build-up, but standardizing testing is common and allowed. Intellectual ability is not a protected class, and employers have the discretion to screen applicants for intellectual suitability for the job.

Suing for disparate impact is is uncommon and hard and requires the plaintiff to clear two hurdles: showing that a disparate impact exists–and second, conditional on the first–that the disparate impact is intentional and inapplicable to the job. Over many decades since such tests became commonplace, it’s hard to find examples of companies being successfully sued for using such tests.

According to a Google search, many Reddit users have taken the Wonderlic test [0], some multiple times as shown below:

The Wonderlic website says thousands of employers use the test.

Look at hedge funds or large tech companies: there are very few black employees relative to the general population, yet such firms have not been sued because of this. Although some black employees have sued for Google discrimination, afik, Google or any other big tech company has not been successfully sued for not hiring enough blacks (although it has gotten plenty of bad press from the usual suspects). Of course, the threat of litigation, even if unsuccessful, does impose a cost on employers. But this has not stopped employers from aggressively filtering for IQ, whether it’s Wonderlic tests, college credentials, phone interviews, ‘brain teasers’, etc. As bad as wokeness has become over the past decade, this seems to be one of the last areas unaffected. Given how much money these tech companies have, they are big targets for civil rights lawyers, yet successes are slim to none.

[0] The Wonderlic is sometimes called a personality test, but it’s implicitly understood to be IQ test. Scores on the Wonderlic correlate highly with full-scale IQ tests and produces a bell curve distribution of scores, similar to full-scale IQ tests. As for the test being trainable, this does not mean it’s useless, contrary to what the above Reddit user says. If we assume an IQ test is to some degree trainable, it means that the mean score will increase, but the normal distribution will still hold.

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