FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1998

CR (202) 616-2777

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ACCUSES CITY OF GARLAND, TEXAS

OF DISCRIMINATING AGAINST MINORITY APPLICANTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department today filed suit against a Texas city for allegedly discriminating against minorities applying for jobs with the police and fire departments. Today's suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas, charged the City of Garland, Texas, with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by engaging in a pattern of discrimination against African Americans and Hispanics. The suit alleges that the city, which is the largest suburb of Dallas, knowingly administers written examinations for jobs in the police and fire departments that do not predict how well an applicant will perform on the job, and that disproportionately exclude qualified African American and Hispanic applicants from consideration for employment. The Department filed suit after the city rejected an offer to discuss settlement. Title VII prohibits government entities from using employment tests which do not measure job performance and result in the exclusion of minorities from employment opportunities. The Department alleged in today's complaint that Garland's examinations for police and fire positions do not identify which applicants are best qualified for jobs but do unfairly eliminate fully qualified African American and Hispanic candidates from consideration. The Department noted that in using the tests, the city did not follow the test-maker's own instructions in administering and scoring the tests. The Justice Department's investigation also uncovered incidents that both departments had tolerated work environments where racial slurs routinely were used. There was also an incident in the fire department involving white firefighters who displayed a confederate flag and dressed in white sheets to taunt a black co-worker. The Justice Department believes that these incidents, which took place under prior leadership, likely discouraged African Americans and Hispanics from applying for positions with the police and fire departments. The suit asks for an order requiring the city to stop discriminating on the basis of race or national origin with respect to employment practices in its police and fire departments. The complaint also asks for remedial relief to victims of the discriminatory practices, including back pay with

interest and offers of employment with retroactive seniority and pension benefits. Last week, the Justice Department sued the city of Willis, Texas, for discriminating against an African American police officer and for retaliating against another officer who helped file a discrimination complaint. # # #

98-048