Judge Orders Forest Service to Diversify Workforce

AP, April 1, 2006

A federal judge ordered the U.S. Forest Service to diversify its work force in California, ruling that the agency has failed to eliminate hiring and promotional barriers to Hispanics as required by a 2002 court agreement.

Hispanics only make up about 9 percent of the forest service’s 5,000-member work force that manages 18 national forests in California. That’s about the same percentage as it was in October 2002 when a lawsuit accusing the agency of discrimination was settled, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland said Thursday.

Wilken said the agency has failed to conduct an effective recruitment and outreach program, employ a full-time recruitment coordinator or make good-faith efforts to employ a civil rights director in California as required by the 2002 agreement.

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