Guyan Valley Hospital v. West Va. Human Rights Comm'n, 181 W. Va. 251; 382 S.E.2d 88 (1989)

Representation of Guyan Valley Hospital in the first known “disparate impact” case filed in West Virginia. The plaintiff filed a race discrimination claim with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission after Guyan failed to offer her the job for which she applied. The Commission ruled at hearing that Guyan violated the plaintiff’s rights under the Human Rights Act. The circuit court reversed that decision, and the plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court. The court held that the circuit court properly rejected the commission's finding of disparate treatment race discrimination because the job applicant was denied employment based on unfavorable references. Noting that a cause of action also arose under the Act for disparate impact race discrimination, the court further found that the plaintiff failed to establish that Guyan’s practice of relying upon personal references caused statistical underrepresentation of African-Americans in the job category, and affirmed the judgment.