On April 3rd, 2006, the United States Department of Justice ("D.O.J.") filed a lawsuit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., against the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The defendant City of Virginia Beach employs police officers and is responsible for establishing the terms, conditions, and other practices which bear upon the employment of the city's police officers. The DOJ sought injunctive relief, alleging that the defendant violated Title VII by discriminating against African-American and Hispanics on the basis of race and national origin.
Specifically, the DOJ alleges that the defendant's use of a mathematics test as a pass/fail screening device in the selection process for the entry-level position of police officer has had a statistically significant disparate impact against African-American and Hispanic applicants. The DOJ further alleges that the City's use of the mathematics test has not been shown to be job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.
On July 24th, 2006, the court (Judge Raymond A. Jackson) entered a consent decree between the United States and the defendant. The decree enjoined the defendant from using the mathematics test as a pass/fail screening device as part of its entry-level police officer selection process, unless used in the following manner: the defendant will consider all applicants who score at least 70% on the reading component of the National Police Officer Screening Test ("POST"), score at least 70% on the grammar component of the POST and obtain an overall POST score of at least 60%. If the defendant wishes to use the test in any other manner, or use a different test, it must notify the United States, and provide a description of the test and the manner in which the defendant intends to use it, the known or likely disparate impact (if any), and all evidence of job relatedness and business necessity. The decree further stipulates that the defendant shall designate an individual responsible for enforcing the consent decree.
The decree also orders the city to deposit money into two settlement funds, the first to be distributed to African-American claimants entitled to monetary relief under the decree, and the second among Hispanic claimants. Individuals eligible for relief under the decree include African-Americans and Hispanics who took the POST during or after 2002, received a score below 70% on the mathematics component, received a score of at least 70% on each of other components, received an overall POST score of at least 60%, and were considered by the defendant to have failed the test.
The defendant may, during the 120 days following the date on which the United States provides to it the list required by the eligibility requirements, require any claimant to appear for and cooperate in any selection procedure designed to allow the defendant to evaluate the claimant's qualifications for the position, using lawful and objective selection procedures.
The decree also contains a section titled "Priority Hiring with Retroactive Hire Date," which stipulates that the defendant shall hire at least 6 African American claimants and 3 Hispanic claimants whom the Court has approved as eligible.
The Court retained jurisdiction until the defendant fulfilled all the obligations regarding individual relief, including crediting of retroactive hire date to claimants hired as priority hires.
The docket shows that there were multiple objections to the consent decree filed after its entry. There was also an order granting a motion to modify the terms of the decree on June 1, 2007. On August 29th, 2007, there was a memorandum order overruling objections to entry of the consent decree, and entering the decree as a final resolution of all claims asserted by the DOJ against the defendant. However, these documents are not available.Jennifer Hau - 11/11/2007