The City of Shreveport Fire Department is known for squelching blazes. But there was one fire that it just couldn't put out.
Todd Dean, a white man who unsuccessfully applied for employment with the fire department, sued Shreveport in 2000, alleging the department's hiring practices were racist. The litigation heated up after eight other white men joined Dean's suit.
"One of the main mistakes in the consent decree was that they never really defined what the appropriate labor pool is so you never get to decide the issue of who is in the labor pool to define availability and underutilization," Ramon says.
With a narrowly tailored program, a system of continual evaluation and an eye on the ever-changing opinions of the courts, companies with affirmative action policies can avoid liability and thus a costly Title VII violation.