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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 1998 (202) 616-2777



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

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

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.

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