The Justice Department reached a settlement through a court-supervised agreement, with Baltimore County, Md., resolving federal claims that the county’s police department illegally discriminated against African-American applicants for employment. Subject to court approval, Baltimore County will pay $2 million in back pay to eligible African Americans who were denied jobs because of employment tests challenged by federal officials. The police department must hire up to 20 previous applicants as entry-level police officers or cadets after the applicants demonstrate that they meet current qualifications and successfully complete other selection requirements.
In addition to back pay and priority hiring, the agreement requires the county to develop a new hiring examination that is lawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. “Communities are better protected and better served when police departments, like the one in Baltimore County, recruit and select qualified officers using job-related criteria,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the DOJ Civil Rights Division. “When police departments fail to do so, and instead disproportionately screen out members of protected classes, they violate federal law.”