Rutgers Settles Lawsuit That Alleged Racial Bias

Brian Whitley, Star-Ledger (Newark), December 1, 2009

Rutgers University has settled a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by four groundskeepers who in 2006 accused the school of denying them promotions and ignoring a noose hung on a campus building.

The workers–three African-Americans and one Hispanic–held maintenance jobs at the Cook/Douglass campus in New Brunswick for at least 12 years. In October, Rutgers agreed to pay each of the men $71,875 in lost wages and other damages, while also reimbursing their attorneys $300,000 in legal fees, according to court papers.

Both sides pledged to keep the settlement confidential, but it was released after The Star-Ledger filed a freedom of information request under the state’s Open Public Records Act. {snip}

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“Rutgers University remains committed to a workplace that is open, inclusive and free from all forms of discrimination,” he said.

The plaintiffs argued their bosses continually passed over them for promotions, advancing white colleagues who benefitted from exclusive training opportunities and interviews marred by unfair questions and biased scoring.

Six white applicants finished with more points than any of the four minority candidates, the complaint said–partly because the white applicants received identical high scores on questions even after giving different responses.

Attorneys for Rutgers said those who were promoted had more experience and interviewed better.

In court documents, they said one of the plaintiffs had obvious flaws. He had been removed from a leadership role after cursing at a female supervisor, admitted chronic tardiness, and committed safety errors while operating a backhoe.

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