Justice Department Sues Dayton Over Hiring Practices

Lou Grieco, Dayton Daily News, Sept. 30, 2008

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the City of Dayton, alleging the city has discriminated against blacks through its hiring practices for police officers and firefighters.

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The lawsuit states that the city’s civilian labor force is about 36.8 percent black. Of the 440 police officers in all ranks, only 9.1 percent is black.

Only 2.4 percent of the city’s 332 firefighters are black, the lawsuit states.

At issue is a written test the city gives to applicants. Those who pass are placed on an eligibility list in descending rank order of test scores.

The city set the passing score for the 2006 police test at 70 percent. The pass rates for whites was 68.1 percent, while the pass rate for blacks was 28.7 percent.

“While African Americans constituted 16.2 percent of all applicants who took that examination, African Americans constituted only 7.6 percent of the applicants who passed that examination—a result that reduced the proportion of African American applicants under consideration by approximately 50 percent,” the lawsuit states.

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Neither the test nor the heightened qualifications are “job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity” and do not meet the requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the lawsuit states.

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