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Lawsuit Alleges Discrimination In New Jersey Civil Service Examination

CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Jan. 8, 2010: The U.S. Justice Department has slapped the state of New Jersey and the New Jersey Civil Service Commission alleging discrimination.

The lawsuit alleges a pattern or practice of employment discrimination against African-Americans and Hispanics and challenges New Jersey`s use of a written examination for promotion to the rank of police sergeant in localities throughout the state.

The United States` complaint alleges that African-American and Hispanic candidates for promotion to sergeant pass the examination at significantly lower rates than white candidates.

The complaint also alleges that even those African-American and Hispanic candidates who pass the examination suffer discrimination because their passing examination scores are significantly lower than those of white candidates, and New Jersey certifies candidates for promotion to police sergeant in descending rank-order based primarily upon each candidate`s written examination score.

The complaint concludes that New Jersey`s use of the examination violates the constitution which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin or religion because the state has not demonstrated that its pass/fail use of the police sergeant written examination or its certification of candidates in descending rank-order to local jurisdictions is job related and consistent with business necessity.

Currently, 18 of New Jersey`s 20 largest cities and townships (all but Cherry Hill and Edison Township), and 20 of New Jersey`s 21 counties (all but Somerset County), participate in the state`s civil service system.

According to information the Justice Department received from New Jersey, at least 120 local police jurisdictions participated in the state`s police sergeant examination promotion process during the time frame of the Justice Department`s pre-suit investigation.

`This complaint should send a clear message to all public employers that employment practices with unlawful discriminatory impact on account of race or national origin will not be tolerated,` said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. `The Justice Department will take all necessary action to ensure that such discriminatory practices are eliminated and that the victims of such practices are made whole.`