CACI No. 2503. Affirmative Defense - Business Necessity/Job Relatedness

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition)

Download PDF
2503.Affirmative Defense - Business Necessity/Job Relatedness
[Name of defendant] claims that the [employment practice/selection
policy] is lawful because it is necessary to [his/her/nonbinary pronoun/its]
business. To succeed, [name of defendant] must prove both of the
1. That the purpose of the [employment practice/selection policy] is
to operate the business safely and efficiently; and
2. That the [employment practice/selection policy] substantially
accomplishes this business purpose.
New September 2003
Directions for Use
The defense of business necessity is available for disparate impact claims but may
not be used as a defense against a claim of intentional discrimination.
CACI No. 2504, Disparate Impact - Rebuttal to Business Necessity/Job Relatedness
Defense, must be given if defendant asserts the defense of business necessity to a
disparate impact employment discrimination claim.
Sources and Authority
Justification of Disparate Impact. Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, §§ 11010(b), 11017(a),
“In order to meet its burden the [employer] must demonstrate a business
necessity for use of the [discriminatory employment practice] . . . . ‘The test is
whether there exists an overriding legitimate business purpose such that the
practice is necessary to the safe and efficient operation of the business. Thus, the
business purpose must be sufficiently compelling to override any [discriminatory]
impact; the challenged practice must effectively carry out the business purpose it
is alleged to serve; and there must be available no acceptable alternative policies
or practices which would better accomplish the business purpose advanced, or
accomplish it equally well with a lesser differential racial impact.’ (City and
County of San Francisco v. Fair Employment and Housing Com. (1987) 191
Cal.App.3d 976, 989-990 [236 Cal.Rptr. 716], quoting Robinson v. Lorillard
Corp. (4th Cir. 1971) 444 F.2d 791, 798.)
The federal Civil Rights Act of 1991 states that one of its purposes is “to codify
the concepts of ‘business necessity’ and ‘job related’ enunciated by the Supreme
Court in Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424], and in other Supreme Court
decisions prior to Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio, 490 U.S. 642 (1989) [109
S.Ct. 2115, 104 L.Ed.2d 733].” (Civil Rights Act of 1991, Pub.L. No. 102-166,
§ 3(2) (Nov. 21, 1991) 105 Stat. 1071, 1071.)
Federal title VII provides that while business necessity is a defense to a claim of
disparate impact discrimination, “[a] demonstration that an employment practice
is required by business necessity may not be used as a defense against a claim
of intentional discrimination.” (42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(k)(2).)
“The touchstone is business necessity. If an employment practice which operates
to exclude [a protected group] cannot be shown to be related to job performance,
the practice is prohibited . . . Congress has placed on the employer the burden
of showing that any given requirement must have a manifest relationship to the
employment in question.” (Griggs, supra, 401 U.S. at pp. 431-432.)
“[T]he employer may defend its policy or practice by proving that it is ‘job
related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.’
Though the key terms have been used since Griggs, their meaning remains
unclear.” (1 Lindemann and Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law (3d ed.
1996) Adverse Impact, p. 106, footnotes omitted.)
“[T]here is no requirement that the challenged practice be ‘essential’ or
‘indispensable’ to the employers business for it to pass muster: this degree of
scrutiny would be almost impossible for most employers to meet . . . .” (Wards
Cove Packing Co., Inc., supra, 490 U.S. at p. 659.) [Note: This portion of Wards
Cove may have been superseded by the Civil Rights Act of 1991.]
Secondary Sources
Chin et al., California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation, Ch. 5(I)-E,
Defamation, ¶¶ 7:571, 7:581, 7:915 (The Rutter Group)
Chin et al., California Practice Guide: Employment Litigation, Ch. 5(I)-L, Invasion
of Privacy, 7:915 (The Rutter Group)
1 Wrongful Employment Termination Practice (Cont.Ed.Bar 2d ed.) Discrimination
Claims, § 2.90
2 Wilcox, California Employment Law, Ch. 41, Substantive Requirements Under
Equal Employment Opportunity Laws, §§ 41.21[4], 41.95[1] (Matthew Bender)
3 Wilcox, California Employment Law, Ch. 43, Civil Actions Under Equal
Employment Opportunity Laws, § 43.01[2][c] (Matthew Bender)
1 Lindemann and Grossman, Employment Discrimination Law (3d ed.) Adverse
Impact, pp. 106-110; id. (2000 supp.) at pp. 62-64
11 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 115, Civil Rights: Employment
Discrimination, §§ 115.23[4][d], 115.54[5], 115.102-115.103 (Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Employment Litigation § 2:25 (Thomson Reuters)

© Judicial Council of California.