The number of employee discrimination lawsuits tripled during the 1990s, and shows no sign of abating. Many of these suits involved claims of age and gender harassment, but many also alleged that testing techniques used for hiring and promotion purposes discriminated unfairly against minorities.

Despite this, the use of testing is growing. According to recent research done by James Sharf and David Jones of Aon Consulting, about 50 percent of companies use standardized employment tests, and roughly 70 percent engage in some sort of ability testing. It’s understandable: In today’s leaner and more complex workplace, the skills and performance of employees are critical to the bottom line. That makes testing an important tool.