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Subjective Hiring Criteria For Fire Chief Are Not Necessarily Illegal

When the City of Americus, Georgia failed to hire Roderick Jolivette as its fire chief, Jolivette sued, claiming he was discriminated against because he is African-American and in retaliation for suing his former employer for unlawful employment practices. A federal trial court found that the legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons the City proffered for hiring Roger Bivins, a Caucasian man, were not pretexts for discrimination and retaliation. Jolivette appealed, and the…

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Q & A

From North Dakota Question: Can an employee be compelled to use earned compensatory time before other forms of leave are utilized or within a specific date range (i.e. within pay cycle; within 14 days of earning)? Answer: In a non-union environment, the FLSA gives the employer the authority to force the employee to use comp time, even on days when the employee might not want the time off. From…

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Applicant’s Views On Homosexuality, Not His Religion, Basis For Employment Decision

An applicant referred to anonymously in a court’s opinion as “Farhan Doe” sued the New York Police Department, alleging he had been turned down for employment because of his religious beliefs. In 2009, Doe applied for appointment as an NYPD cadet. A NYPD psychologist found that Doe was psychologically unsuitable for appointment due to a combination of factors including: (1) Depression because psychological testing suggested the presence of depressive…

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Court Terminates Cleveland Fire Consent Decree

Forty years ago, a group of African American citizens challenged the hiring practices of the Cleveland Fire Department. The result was a consent decree that required the City to hire minorities and non-minorities on the basis of a ratio. Over the years, the Department’s diversity greatly increased. From 1973 to 2000, for example, the percentage of minority firefighters in the Department increased from 4% to 26%. Eventually, a federal…

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Firefighter Applicant On Military Duty Must Be Placed Atop Special Hiring List

On December 14, 2002, Robert Woods took an open competitive civil service examination to become a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department. One of the qualifications to be a firefighter is that a candidate, by the date of appointment, must have successfully completed 30 semester credits from an accredited college or university or obtained a four-year high school diploma and completed two years of honorable full-time military…

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Afghani Police Officer Applicant Loses Lawsuit

After the City of Minneapolis did not hire Hamid Amini for a position with the Minneapolis Police Department, Amini, who was born in Afghanistan, filed suit, alleging that the City discriminated against him based on his race, color, and national origin. Amini argued that he satisfied the City’s criteria to be placed on the eligible list and was ranked second among the 12 candidates certified to the hiring decision-maker….

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Employer Must Explain Why It Uses Rule Of Three

The New Jersey Civil Service Act allows an employer to use a Rule of Three to bypass a candidate who ranked higher on a competitive examination. When an employer does so, it must report to the State’s Department of Personnel (DOP) why it did so. The purpose for the report is to assure that the appointing power was not exercised arbitrarily and to provide a basis for review. In…

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Chicago Firefighter Hiring Practices Discrimination Case Comes To End

In 1995, the City of Chicago gave a written examination for positions in its Fire Department. Applicants who scored 89 and up were rated highly qualified, while those who scored 64 and below were rated not qualified. Those in between were rated qualified but were told in January 1996 that they were unlikely to be hired. From May 1996 through November 2001, the City hired 11 groups of applicants…

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Supreme Court Allows Chicago Fire Department Race Discrimination Lawsuit To Proceed

In July 1995, the City of Chicago administered a written examination to over 26,000 applicants seeking to serve in the Chicago Fire Department. After scoring the examinations, the City announced that it would begin drawing randomly from the top tier of scorers, i.e., those who scored 89 or above (out of 100), whom the City called “well qualified.” Those drawn from this group would proceed to the next phase…

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Firefighter Decision Pits Hispanic Against African-American Applicants

The North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) is a consolidated fire department in New Jersey. In New Jersey, civil service positions such as firefighter are subject to the examination process administered by the New Jersey Department of Personnel. In order to be placed on the NHRFR’s hiring list, a candidate must also live in one of the municipalities served by the NHRFR. As of July 2008, the NHRFR…

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Chicago’s Reasons For Failing To Hiring Muslim Officer Not Pretextual

Ricky Martinez is a Muslim male of Middle-Eastern origin. Martinez filed a federal court lawsuit alleging that the Chicago Police Department failed to hire him as a probationary police officer because of his religion. In dismissing Martinez’s claim, the Court applied the “indirect method of proof” test to Martinez’s claim. Under the test, if a plaintiff establishes a prima facie case by showing that he or she is a…

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Declining Economy No Reason To Extend Fire Department’s Consent Decree

The Cleveland Fire Department entered into a racial discrimination consent decree in the 1970s, when blacks accounted for four percent of the firefighters in the Department, but consisted of 40 percent of the population living in the city. The consent decree set as a goal a fire department with a 33 1/3 percent minority makeup. In 2000, a federal court judge found that 26 percent of the City’s firefighters…

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FDNY Hiring Test Ruled Illegally Discriminatory

There exists a significant racial disparity between the population of the City of New York and the makeup of the Fire Department of New York. In 2002, 25 percent of the city’s residents were black, and 27 percent were Hispanic. At the same time, 2.6 percent of FDNY firefighters were black, and 3.7 percent were Hispanic. The federal government sued the City of New York, contending that its entrance-level…

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Offer Of Deputy Chief Job To White Firefighters Defeats Reverse Discrimination Claim

In November 2005, the City of Harvey, Illinois decided to hire a deputy chief and three assistant chiefs for the Harvey Fire Department. A sign-up sheet was posted for persons interested in these positions. Nine people signed up to be interviewed for the assistant chief position including Rich Stockwell, Gary Stockwell, Ron DeYoung, and Steve Ciecierski, all of whom are white firefighters with the City. Eight people signed up…

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‘Uncharacterized’ Discharge From Service Disqualifies Police Officer Applicant

Allen Bishop applied to be a police officer with the City of Texarkana, Texas. Bishop passed the written exam and fitness test and was placed on the eligibility list for potential appointment. After a background check, though, the Department informed Bishop that he had been removed from the eligibility list because he was not “license eligible” for the position of police officer. Bishop then sued, contending that the real…

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