The state of New Jersey and the New Jersey Civil Service Commission (collectively "New Jersey") have reached an agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve charges that an exam used by most of the state's cities and municipalities for promotions to police sergeant discriminated against African Americans and Hispanics.
The DOJ lawsuit claimed that African American and Hispanic officers who took the promotional exam since at least 2000 scored disproportionately lower than white candidates and passed at a disproportionately lower rate than white candidates. Under current discrimination law, the state might have saved its procedures by showing the exam to be job-related or consistent with business necessity, but was unable to do so.
The settlement requires New Jersey to pay $1 million into a fund for African American and Hispanic officers who were harmed by the promotional practices and who are determined to be eligible for relief. The state will also develop a lawful procedure for selecting police sergeants and give priority promotions to forty-eight African Americans and twenty Hispanics who pass the new procedure.