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Austin F.D. stops hiring after EEOC claims testing bias

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

The Austin Fire Department has stopped hiring candidates from its 2012 candidate list now that the EEOC has declared that its hiring test discriminated against black and Hispanic candidates. The EEOC pointed to disparities in pass rates between the groups.

According to an EEOC analysis, 40% of black applicants passed the test, compared to 68% of nonblack applicants. The federal review claimed that only one black applicant was hired out of 736 who applied for the position.

Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr countered that the number of applicants was only 636 and, of those, only 328 had actually taken the test. She said three of those made the candidate list. Kerr also noted that nothing in the federal report claims the department intentionally discriminated against minorities, only that the test had a disparate impact on them.

Austin officials must now devise a test that is not discriminatory, in hopes of resuming hiring.

Note: Review any supposedly neutral hiring tests that produce disparate results between majority and minority candidates. Your goal: Determine if a less discriminatory method exists for evaluating candidates.

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