New York:   News Articles about Reverse Discrimination against Police, Fire, and Municipal Employees.

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Police, Fire, Municipal Employment
Last Updated October 06, 2005
See Especially:  Suffolk County, New York, and SHL/Landy-Jacobs (07/06/00)

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New York (City):
Police Relax Requirements for Recruits (09/28/00)

          "Faced with a dwindling number of applicants for the city's Police Academy, the Police Department relaxed its eligibility requirements yesterday to allow younger recruits to join the department and to admit more officers without two years of college.

          "[Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik] said that by loosening the eligibility requirements for these employees, the department gains a pool of 1,300 potential applicants, many of whom are members of minority groups.

          "The changes were the department's clearest acknowledgment yet of its struggle to find recruits for the 40,000-member force.

          "Mr. Kerik also said the department would waive a requirement that recruits have 60 college credits for two more categories of applicants.

          "Police and union officials have cited multiple problems in the department's effort to attract new members, including the strong private-sector economy and the relatively low starting pay — roughly $31,500 — for rookie officers, as well as the public outcry surrounding several fatal shootings by the police of unarmed black men.

          "Mr. Kerik said that by loosening the eligibility requirements for [selected] employees, the department gains a pool of 1,300 potential applicants, many of whom are members of minority groups.

          "Since last year ... the department had maintained it did not have a hiring problem, and said its stepped-up recruiting efforts, including two $10 million advertising campaigns, were aimed more at diversifying the ranks than maintaining the department's size."  (New York Times Thu., Sept. 28, 2000 by C. J. Chivers)
[link ]

New York (City):
Minorities seek larger numbers on force that's 93% white

          "Sooner or later, all black firefighters in New York City have the same experience: As they arrive at a call, a bystander steps forward and says, "Hey, you're the first black fireman I've ever seen." "That still happens every day in this city," said Lt. Paul Washington, president of the Vulcan Society, a fraternal order of black city firefighters, and an 11-year veteran of the department. City records show that the Fire Department is 93.9% white, making it by far the whitest agency in the city, as well as the least diverse fire department in any major city in the country. Minority firefighters are demanding action as the city continues to test new recruits — a process that rolls around only once every five years or so — while senior city officials ratchet up pressure on the department."  (New York Daily News 05/02/99 by Dave Saltonstall)
[link ]

New York (Farmingville):  Volunteer Is Within Scope of Title VII (06/22/99)
          "A probationary volunteer firefighter is considered an employee protected by federal anti-discrimination laws, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled.

          "A unanimous three-judge appeals panel found that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the volunteer, Victoria Pietras, was subjected to a physical agility test that was not work-related and had a disparate impact on woman applicants to the Farmingville Fire District.

          "The ruling in Pietras v. Board of Fire Commissioners, 98-7334, upheld a decision by Eastern District Judge Denis R. Hurley.

          "Until Judge Hurley's ruling in 1998, the Farmingville Fire District required that all probationary volunteer firefighters pass a physical agility test that included dragging a 280-pound water-filled fire hose over a distance of 150 feet in under four minutes.

          "The four-minute maximum for the so-called "charged hose drag" was determined by trials conducted by some 44 members of the volunteer department, including Ms. Pietras, who logged a time of five minutes, 21 seconds.

          "When the official test was given, 63 of 66 male probationers passed the test, for a passage rate of 95 percent. Of the seven women who took the test, four dragged the hose in under four minutes and two failed to complete the test. The seventh was Ms. Pietras, who failed the test not once but twice. She was subsequently fired from the department.

          "During a bench trial before Judge Hurley, an expert exercise physiologist, Dr. Robert Otto, testified as to both the disparate impact of the "charged hose drag" test and its lack of relation to the job.

          "Under the rule, if the pass rate for women is less than 80 percent of the pass rate for men, then the court can draw an inference of disparate impact."  (New York Law Journal, 06/22/99, by Mark Hamblett)
[link ]

New York (Suffolk County):
Judge Derails Hiring of Cops
(05/19/00 - no link)

          "At the urging of a group of police applicants disqualified by a hiring test they claim is biased, a state Supreme Court justice yesterday barred Suffolk County from signing up any new officers and ordered a hearing on the department's most recent examination.  Supreme Court Justice Robert Lifson issued the temporary injunction against the county yesterday and ordered another hearing on the civil-service test [created by SHL / Landy-Jacobs] as early as Monday."
Adversity.Net's Case Study 21:

Suffolk County Police Exam
Updated Jan. 2, 2004

          Ironically, this latest scandal is a direct result of a 1996 scandal in which test results were ordered thrown out by the court because of charges by minority applicants that the 1996 test had a "disparate impact" on minorities who couldn't answer the test questions properly and who therefore failed the test at a higher rate than non-minority applicants.

          The new test was designed by a diversity testing consultant named SHL / Landy-Jacobs.  The Landy-Jacobs firm has found a comfortable niche designing police and fire department tests at the 2nd grade reading level on which less well-educated minority candidates can perform well.  The firm's web site boasted that they have designed testing methodologies that give partial credit for wrong answers, and the plaintiffs in the current lawsuit claim that the test disregards such critical skills as an officer's ability to remember key details of a crime scene for as little as 5 minutes.

          Newsday writes that the lawsuit "was brought by a group of candidates -- many of whom work in law enforcement, are white, and who scored highly on the 1996 test -- who believe the new exam discriminated against them."  One plaintiff, Candace Carrabus, is a Suffolk corrections officer.  She scored 100 on the 1996 exam but only a 75 on Landy-Jacob's re-designed exam in May 2000.  Like the other plaintiffs, Carrabus maintains that the parts of the test she did well on were thrown out, presumably because minorities don't do well on those parts of the test.

          Newsday writes "At the heart of the case is the plaintiffs' contention that sections of the test dealing with cognitive questions [i.e., reasoning ability and mental sharpness] were overlooked in favor of highly subjective biographical and life-experience elements.  Lawyers for the group, some of whom are women and minorities as well, said yesterday that objective merit was held in low regard and that talented, experienced candidates regardless of race were disqualified."  One of the attorneys is quoted as saying "It weeded out the best.  What you have are results that exclude merit and fitness," according to attorney Craig Purcell of Hauppauge.

          "Lawrence Kelly of Stony Brook, another of the lawyers, said that 'anyone who did well in school, who is intelligent, who is intent on becoming a police officer is not going to be acceptable in Suffolk County."

          Police Commissioner John Gallagher, who had been assured by Landy-Jacobs that the new test would stand up to legal challenges, is upset to find the department in court.  So fearful of the racial lobby were Gallagher and hired gun SHL / Landy that apparently neither one anticipated that rejected white applicants might legally challenge the anti-white bias inherent in the redesigned test.

          Tom Evans, a Suffolk sheriff's deputy who was ranked 5th on the 1996 exam but who didn't make the top cut in the 2000 exam said " their haste for a more diverse department what the department might have done [in this case] is find out how the group they wanted [presumably minorities] answered, and then made that the right answer."  (Based on Newsday, Page A32, 05/19/00 by Andrew Metz)
[no link]

See Also:  Suffolk County Reverse Discrimination - (Case 21 - Adversity.Net local, this site)
Case 21 Updated and Expanded 01/02/04

Suffolk County Police, Related:

New York (Suffolk County):
SCPD Selection is Social Engineering
(05/31/00 - no link)

          Attorney Lawrence Kelly is helping to represent the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Suffolk County over the results of the new police recruit exam which was appears to disqualify white applicants at a disproportionate rate.  Kelly wrote the following column for the Suffolk Life Newspapers:

          "Anthony is a New York Police Department (NYPD) detective who has been awarded the police combat cross and the NYPD Purple Heart medal.  Carol is an NYPD sergeant who scored a 97 on the NYPD sergeant exam.  Bill and Gerry are members of a law enforcement agency in Suffolk County which sends it recruits to the Suffolk Police Academy mixed with Suffolk County police recruits.   Bill and Gerry were the valedictorian and salutatorian of their Suffolk Police Academy class, ranking higher than the score of Suffolk police officers in the class.   Ed won the Governor's Award for Exceptional Bravery in a rescue.  Dan and Pete have been named Police Officers of the Year in the last two years in their respective jurisdictions. 

          "What these officers from other jurisdictions have in common is that the most recent Suffolk Police selection device predicts that they would not be good Suffolk officers.  They received scores of 70 to 80 on the selection device.  ... Not a test with correct answers, but a survey of attitudes, interests and self appraisals.

          "In court proceedings over the next few weeks, a court may or may not review the quasi-science used by a private company [SHL / Landy-Jacobs] to come to these findings.  If form holds, the resources of the government will work overtime to call Anthony, Carol, Bill, Gerry, Ed, Dan and Pete sore losers.  The county will try to convey an impression that cognitive (brain function) questions, which were part of the original selection device, were actually used in the grading.  [But] the truth is that cognitive questions beyond the 2nd grade level were not used so as not to have a disparate impact on minority applicants.

          "...if form holds, the courts will indicate that social engineering and the complexion of the police force is the overriding concern in police hiring for suburban police departments."  (Suffolk Life Newspapers, Wed., 05/31/00, by Attorney Lawrence Kelly, a partner in the law firm of Glynn and Mercep.)
[no link]

New York (Suffolk County):
Wrong is Right in Suffolk County's Racially "Adjusted" Test
  (02/12/99 - dead link)

          "Suffolk County is preparing to administer a new police test to replace a scandal-tainted 1996 exam.  A new consultant, Landy-Jacobs Inc., has been hired to develop the new test. It makes the following statement on its website:

          ''We have developed sophisticated procedures for reducing adverse impact against ethnic minority applicants on written examinations, and female candidates on physical ability exams.  These procedures include training programs, practice examinations and specialized testing methods that provide partial credit for eliminating clearly wrong answers to questions.''

          "In other words, you may think that 2 + 2 = 5, but as long as you don't say that 2 + 2 = 6, we'll give you partial credit.  According to the testing company, wrong is partly right - as long as you're a minority or a woman.  This horribly patronizing approach is as harsh a condemnation of affirmative-action thinking as we can imagine." (Based on NY Post Editorial, 02/12/99)
[former link to story at **]

SHL / Landy-Jacobs and the Disparate Impact Industry

          One of the leading firms which services the emerging Disparate Impact Industry is SHL Group which recently merged with Landy-Jacobs.  SHL Group is one of hundreds of firms that are profiting from the U.S. DOJ's "adverse - disparate impact" mandate. 

[Editor's Note:  According to DOJ's Adverse-Disparate Impact doctrine, proof of actual racial discrimination is not required.  The doctrine says simply that if protected minorities fail a test at a higher rate than whites, then that fact alone is sufficient for DOJ to accuse the employer of racial discrimination.  This doctrine also states that an employer cannot require, for example, reading ability at or above the 6th grade level if that requirement cannot be proven to be absolutely required for the job.]

          Firms like SHL / Landy-Jacobs offer personnel plans and testing solutions which allegedly reduce disparate impact on minorities, i.e., which conform to DOJ's Adverse-Disparate Impact doctrine. 

          Critics charge that the re-engineered tests and personnel policies favor minorities over whites, and favor lower reasoning ability and less education in favor of hiring less-skilled persons as long as they are of the "right" color.  The U.S. Department of Justice loves the work of firms like Landy-Jacobs / SHL Group. 

Adversity.Net's Case Study 21:

Suffolk County Police Exam
Updated Jan. 2, 2004

          Such firms use what critics call pseudo-science, as well as so-called "bio-data" -- life experience and self-ratings -- to create employment tests which the critics say eliminate educated, intelligent whites in favor of less-skilled persons of the "right" color.

          Recently, however, there have been a number of legal challenges by non-minority applicants who have been rejected by these disparate impact reduction strategies.  Such legal controversy could be the reason that SHL Group / Landy-Jacobs has modified a key statement on their web site:

Old Landy-Jacobs Quote (1999): New SHL Group / Jacobs-Landy Quote (2000):
"Adverse Impact Reduction:  We have developed sophisticated procedures for reducing adverse impact against ethnic minority applicants on written examinations, and female candidates on physical ability exams. 

These procedures include training programs, practice examinations and specialized testing methods that provide partial credit for eliminating clearly wrong answers to questions.'' (Emphasis added.)

"Adverse Impact Reduction:  We have developed sophisticated procedures for reducing adverse impact against ethnic minority applicants on written examinations, and female candidates on physical ability exams.

These procedures are made available to all candidates and include training programs, practice examinations and the use of multiple testing modalities."  (Emphasis added.)

Old (locked) Jacobs-Landy web site (1999):
New SHL Group / Jacobs-Landy web site (as of 07/06/00):
Analysis:  Notice that the "dumbing down" statement in the left column has been eliminated.  In the right column, SHL / Landy-Jacobs no longer boasts that their tests give partial credit for wrong answers.  In 1999 (left column) they clearly stated that their testing methods "provide partial credit for eliminating clearly wrong answers to questions", meaning (in 1999) that Landy-Jacobs felt that wrong answers were OK as long as they were not clearly wrong answers!

          Also notice that in the right column, the new SHL / Landy-Jacobs web page includes the key phrase "These procedures are made available to ALL candidates."  This simple statement may have been designed to protect SHL / Landy-Jacobs from charges of bias in favor of minorities vs. non-minorities.  In 1999, the quote from their old web site (left column) may have been a little too obviously discriminatory.

          Multiple Testing Modalities:  This bit of jargon in their revised 2000 web site (right column) seems to refer to the controversial use of life experience data and so-called bio-data which critics charge are designed solely to benefit protected minorities and to discriminate against groups such as white males, and which data critics allege has no proven relationship to job performance.

          The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights is very fond of the work being done by firms such as SHL / Landy-Jacobs, and routinely approves the pro-minority selection devices these firms design.  Such firms seem to thrive on a pseudo-scientific but definitely politically correct "pro-minority" testing scheme which eliminates a larger proportion of whites and passes a larger percentage of minorities.

          SHL / Landy-Jacobs also offers a litigation support division which will marshall expert witnesses to your defense should you ever be sued for racial or sexual discrimination.   Their new web site boasts of the several court cases  they've supported in which the court determined no disparate impact was practiced by selected SHL / Landy-Jacobs clients. 

See Also:  Suffolk County Reverse Discrimination - (Case 21 - Adversity.Net local, this site)
Case 21 Updated and Expanded 01/02/04

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.