Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Final Order Likely to End Belleville Hiring Bias Case

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Final Order Likely to End Belleville Hiring Bias Case

Article excerpt

A federal judge has issued a final order requiring Belleville to pay $450,000 in back pay in a case that found the city's hiring practices had discriminated on the basis of race and gender.

U.S. District Judge Paul E. Riley, in East St. Louis, issued a 46-page order Monday that he said probably will end the five-year-old case.

Riley had issued a consent decree on Aug. 8, 1995, in which Belleville agreed not to discriminate in the future and to eliminate effects of past discrimination. The U.S. Justice Department brought the anti-discrimination suit against the city in 1993 under the Civil Rights Act of 1974. To settle the suit, the city agreed to set up a fund of $450,000 to split among persons who could prove they were discriminated against, and to agree to priority hiring lists in seven job categories - including the police and fire departments. The Justice Department developed a back pay formula that required persons to make their claims last year. The back pay was approved for people who could produce evidence of hiring bias. Justice Department attorneys accused Belleville of discriminating against women, as well as blacks and other minorities in its hiring practices. Nearly 500 claims were considered for back pay, with $6,376 as the l argest amount to be awarded. The smallest amount to be awarded a single claimant was set at $71. Some people filed more than one claim, based on having applied more than once, or for more than one job. Many claims were rejected. Federal officials considered a claim only if they could verify that it: * Fell within the time period covered by the suit, March 1, 1985, to July 18, 1994. * Included evidence the claimant applied for a job, or was deterred by a reasonable belief it would be futile. * Was submitted for a job for which there was an opening, and then only if that opening was subsequently filled. …

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