Texas city accused of illegal discrimination in police hiring

The United States Department of Justice recently filed a lawsuit alleging discriminatory hiring practices in the city of Lubbock's police department.

The lawsuit

The lawsuit, filed in federal District Court in Texas, alleges that the Texas city's police hiring practices unlawfully discriminate against women and Hispanics. The lawsuit alleges that the City's written test for applicants to the police force discriminates against Hispanics. Similarly, the lawsuit alleges that the police force's physical test is discriminatory against women.

According to the lawsuit, between January 2010 and June 2015, the City administered its written test 14 times. Overall, the first-time pass rate for white applicants was 88 percent while only 68 percent for Hispanic applicants.

During that same period, only 40 percent of female applicants passed the physical test, compared to an 81 percent pass rate for men. The physical test consists of two runs, one of 300 meters and one of 1.5 miles, as well as push-ups, sit-ups and a vertical jump. The suit alleges that the physical exam is "not job related [nor] consistent with business necessity."

The lawsuit requests that the police department cease using the current exam and to develop new criteria that does not have an adverse impact on women and Hispanic applicants. For its part, the City has said it intends to work with the Department of Justice and is committed to developing and maintaining a police force that complies with all local and federal laws.

Employment discrimination

Discrimination in employment on the basis of sex and race are prohibited by state and federal law. Discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently because of his or her race, sex or other protected status.

Even an employment policy or practice that applies to everyone - in this case the written and physical exams - regardless of a person's race or sex, does not mean it is not discriminatory. Rather, if the test has a negative impact on a particular race or sex and is not job-related or necessary for the job, it may be illegal discrimination.

Speak to a Texas employment law attorney

If you believe you are the victim of illegal employment discrimination on the basis of your race, sex or other protected status, contact Kennard Law, P.C., today online or toll free at 855-KENNLAW to discuss your legal matter with an experienced Texas workplace discrimination lawyer. Se habla español.