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New Theory of Discrimination: "Inherent Bias"

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Do Americans inherently prefer whites to blacks, even if they're unaware that they do?

That's the theory of discrimination that was advanced in a lawsuit claiming the Iowa state government discriminated against black job applicants and employees in hiring and promotion decisions.

Considered to be the largest of its kind against a state civil service system, the lawsuit claimed that since 2003 as many as 6,000 African American individuals were not hired or promoted as a result of discrimination. The plaintiffs were seeking millions in lost wages, as well as court-ordered changes to Iowa state's hiring and promotion practices.

On Tuesday, April 17, District Judge Robert Blink said that plaintiffs failed to prove their "unique legal theory". Thomas Newkirk, lead plaintiffs' attorney, promised to appeal the decision.

The "implicit bias" theory of discrimination is gaining interest among employment attorneys, and we may see more of these kinds of cases in the future.

In this installment, we talk about this new theory of discrimination, how it relates to conventional theories, the class-action lawsuit that claimed implicit bias, and what the judge had to say on the issue.

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