FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH THE CITY OF GALLUP, NEW MEXICO REGARDING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR AMERICAN INDIAN APPLICANTS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced a settlement agreement with the City of Gallup, New Mexico, resolving a lawsuit alleging a pattern or practice of discrimination in employment against American Indian job applicants. The lawsuit alleges that the city followed employee recruitment and hiring procedures that intentionally excluded qualified American Indian applicants from the city workforce, in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“Racial discrimination in public employment undermines confidence in our civil institutions,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “No American should be denied employment on the basis of their race. We commend the City of Gallup for recognizing the seriousness of its prior conduct and for taking immediate steps to ensure that racial employment discrimination does not happen again.”
Based on its investigation, the United States believes that the City of Gallup engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional discrimination, which included the intentional mishandling or destruction of pending job applications; the failure or refusal even to consider qualified American Indian employees; the pre-selection of non-American Indian applicants; and race based harassment of current and former American Indian employees. The city agreed to the consent decree shortly after the United States brought the results of its investigation to the city’s attention.
Under the agreement, which still must be approved by a federal court, the City will provide a total of $300,000 to qualified American Indian applicants who applied for a job with the city since January 1, 1997 and were not hired or were delayed in hire due to the challenged recruiting and hiring procedures. The agreement also requires the city to revise its recruitment and hiring policies and provide anti-discrimination training to all employees involved in hiring or recruitment for city positions and all employees authorized to receive and investigate complaints of racial discrimination in employment.
Enforcing laws prohibiting employment discrimination is a priority of the Civil Rights Division. During fiscal year 2004 alone, the Division has filed 3 lawsuits against public employers challenging a systematic pattern or practice of employment discrimination. This represents the most such cases the Division has filed during a single year since 1997.