Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Leadership Studies


Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Richard Johnson III

Second Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Third Advisor

Walter Gmelch


Employment Discrimination: An Efficacy Study of African American Inequities in the California Utility SectorThe economic legislation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was designed a vigorous tool of law to address employment discrimination of African Americans and remedy economic disparity that unfavored African Americans. The energy utility industry served as the first Supreme Court defendant and loser of a Title VII employment discrimination challenge by a Black workforce. As a result, energy utility companies have served as the face of resistance to fair employment for African Americans despite the liberal popularity of diversity management programs. Prior quantitative and qualitative research identifies statistical patterns and social positioning respectively as a barometer of inclusion. This research is a case study of efficacy of Title VII’s impact on African American employees employed in the energy utility industry in the state of California. The case study relies on 201 employment discrimination complaints filed between 2014–2020 with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against the four investment-owned utilities in California. The case study indicated that the majority of employment race-discrimination complaints are filed by African American employees. The aggregate reasons for complaints are consistent across all utility companies, with high rates of African American employees experiencing harassment, retaliation, and a lack of internal mobility. The analysis of the complaints revealed a lack of procedural accountability in (a) promoting, (b) employee evaluations, (c) harassment, and (d) expulsion across all utility companies. Furthermore, the inconsequential procedures designed to curve harassment and retaliation carelessly promote an acceptable culture of inequity. Each utility company’s diversity management programs dilute the focus of African American inequities in lieu of other despairing groups who are largely made up of the same salient racial and gender in-group. Moreover, utility companies are misrepresenting the success of diversity programs with a statistical aggregate that purposely misleads and often hides the inequity and lack of commitment towards African American employees. The author contends that the progress of diversity, equity, and inclusion for African American employees in energy utility companies in the most liberal and diverse states remains subjected to continuous social closure and statistical discrimination, resulting in inequitable hiring, mobility, harassment, and expulsion of the African American workforce.