ARTICLE: Using Personality Tests in Preemployment Screening: Issues Raised in Soroka v. Dayton Hudson Corporation Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2000 American Psychological Association
Psychology, Public Policy and Law

ARTICLE: Using Personality Tests in Preemployment Screening: Issues Raised in Soroka v. Dayton Hudson Corporation

December, 2000

6 Psych. Pub. Pol. and L. 1164


Wayne J. Camara, The College Board and Peter F. Merenda, University of Rhode Island


A highly publicized class action lawsuit and the ensuing out-of-court settlement that involved the screening of job applicants for security guards in a major discount store chain raised a number of issues concerning the legitimacy and legality of the use of personality inventories in employment settings. The case, Soroka v. Dayton Hudson Corporation (1989), provided the first challenge to a private sector employer's use of psychological tests on the basis of violating an individual's right to privacy and stimulated considerable interest by applied psychologists who must increasingly balance corporate desires to learn more about applicants' probable behavior on the job with individuals' rights to privacy in areas that appear to the general public as unrelated to job performance. In addition, psychologists remain divided on many of the psychometric and professional issues, as well as legal questions, concerning the relevance and use of personality assessments that remain unanswered because of the out-of-court settlement in this case.

In this article, we critically review the factual evidence in Soroka v. Dayton Hudson Corporation and the controversial arguments advanced by experts for the plaintiff and defendant in addressing technical, professional, and legal concerns of psychologists in using personality inventories in preemployment screening. We specifically identify and review those issues that have substantial implications for psychological assessment. These issues include (a) the legitimacy and limitations in using measures containing invasive items, (b) the job relevance of personality constructs and the construct-related evidence of the measures, and (c) evidence of validity and proper test ...
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