The Justice Department yesterday filed a lawsuit against the city of Lubbock, Texas, alleging that the city’s police department engaged in a pattern or practice of employment discrimination against Hispanics and women in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleges that the Lubbock Police Department’s (LPD) written and physical fitness examinations had the effect of excluding Hispanic and female applicants from consideration for hire as entry-level police officers without a showing that these tests screened candidates for skills that are required for the job.
“We share with Lubbock the goal of hiring qualified applicants to perform critical public safety functions,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division. “Federal law prohibits employers from using discriminatory employment practices that do not meaningfully evaluate one’s ability to perform a given job. The Department of Justice will ensure that the city eliminates the use of these unlawful tests and we hope to work cooperatively with the city to create new selection procedures that do not unlawfully discriminate.”
This lawsuit seeks a court order requiring LPD to stop using the challenged examinations, develop selection procedures for entry-level police officer positions at LPD that comply with Title VII and provide make-whole relief including, where appropriate, offers of hire, back pay and retroactive seniority, to qualified Hispanics and women who have been or will be harmed as a result of LPD’s use of the challenged examinations.