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African American Detectives File EEOC Complaint Against the New York Police Department for Race Discrimination

above-the-bar-logo.jpgThe New York Police Department (“NYPD”) is under scrutiny for allegedly discriminating against African American detectives. The New York Civil Liberties Union (“NYCLU”) recently filed a complaint on behalf of African American detectives in the NYPD’s Intelligence Division with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that the NYPD racially discriminates in it hiring and promotional practices.

The complaint alleges that the Intelligence Division uses a “secretive and standardless promotions policy” which promotes white officers before more qualified African American officers. The complaint states that “the NYPD has chosen to cloak promotions in secrecy and give the all-white high level supervisors who run the Intelligence Division unfettered discretion to handpick white detectives for promotions over more qualified African American detectives.” The complaint also alleges the existence of a “secret list” containing mostly white officers who are to be promoted.

Denying the allegations, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne stated that “There’s no ‘secret’ list. There’s a formal review process that measures job performance, years in rank, etc. in which minorities department-wide have fared better than at any other time, in recognition of their meritorious performance.”

According the NYCLU, African Americans make up 18% of all NYPD officers but only 6% of the officers in the Intelligence Division. Of the 600 people in the Intelligence Division, only 35 are African Americans. The NYCLU’s complaint also claims that while most African Americans hold the position of third grade detective, which is one rank above a regular police officer, not one African American holds a rank above sergeant. Even out of the 161 sergeants, only 8 are African American. This difference in ranking amounts to a $30,000 difference in pay between a third grade detective and a higher first grade detective. This also means a $15,000 per year difference in the amount of pension received.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant because of race or color with respect to hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, or any other term, condition or privilege of employment. For example, if your employment policy, which applies to everyone, has a negative impact on a particular race or color and is not related to the job or the operation of the business, it may be illegal. It also prohibits making employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions regarding abilities or traits of certain racial groups. For example, you can not exclude a qualified individual from a job promotion just because you have heard that all people of that individual’s race/color cheat on their spouses.

In a city as diverse as New York, it is a shame that New York’s Finest may be involved in discriminating against African Americans. The numbers alone raise the question of whether discrimination exists. We will be tracking this case to see what the EEOC comes up with.

Our Attorneys have counseled many individuals on their rights at the workplace. If you feel you have been discriminated against at your workplace with respect to any aspect of employment including benefits or compensation, call our Discrimination Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help you determine the strength of your claim and figure out your best options.

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