FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., alleges in a federal lawsuit filing that Former New York City Deputy Sheriff was terminated due to a pattern of racially biased psychological evaluations of Black law enforcement candidates
New York, March 13, 2016 – According to the lawsuit, Mr. Barry Brown, is a former employee of the New York City Department of Finance – Sheriff’s Division, employed as a Deputy Sheriff. Deputy Sheriffs are peace officers as defined under the New York State Criminal Procedure Law and authorized to make warrantless arrests, issue summonses, conduct vehicle stops, carry and use firearms, batons, pepper spray, handcuffs, and use physical and deadly force. Deputy Sheriffs in their civil enforcement role are authorized to enforce parts of the New York State Civil Practice Law and Rules (“CPLR”).
According to the lawsuit, Brown contends Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits psychological testing designed to, or that has a tendency to, discriminate based upon race. Moreover, psychological testing where the administration results in disparate treatment or disparate impact upon applicants or employees based upon race, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In 1978, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) adopted the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures (“UGESP”) under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The UGESP provides uniform guidance for employers to ensure their testing and selection procedures are in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, theory of disparate impact. The UGESP outline three (3) different methods for employers to prove their testing and selection procedures are job-related and consistent with business necessity. These methods of proving job-relatedness are called “test” validation. Brown contends, the City of New York as an employer, is not in compliance with the UGESP.
Brown claims in or around February 1997, he graduated from Baruch College with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Finance. Brown also served eight (8) years honorably in the United States Marine Corps – Reserves at the rank of Corporal (E4). According to the lawsuit, around December 2012 Brown began the hiring and testing process for the position of Deputy Sheriff, City of New York, Examination No.: 3021. Brown claims he successfully qualified on the written examination, physical examination and physical fitness test. On February 19, 2013, Brown entered the New York City Sheriff’s Academy. Brown claims at that time, the class consisted of fifteen (15) deputy sheriff candidates: 5 Blacks or African-American, 7 White or Caucasian, 2 Hispanic and 1 Asian. Brown further claims, 1/3 or thirty-three (33) percent of the class was Black or African-American.
On February 24, 2013, Brown claims he was administered the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory aka MMPI-2. The MMPI-2 was specifically designed for assessing psychological stability in clinical settings although commonly used to assess applicants of ‘high-risk’ professions such as airline pilots and police officers.
On March 22, 2013, Brown claims NYPD Department Psychologists determined there was sufficient evidence to warrant finding him psychologically unsuitable for the position of Deputy Sheriff. This was according to his ‘history’ of functioning raises sufficient concern about his coping skills, stress tolerance and interpersonal skills to warrant disqualification.
On May 13, 2013 Brown was terminated. Brown claims his termination was based upon the racially biased psychological evaluations under NYPD Psychological Services. Brown further claims the entire pool, one hundred (100) percent of Black or African-American candidates were psychologically disqualified. Moreover, sixty (60) percent of the pool of Black or African-American psychologically disqualified candidates went onto become members of other law enforcement agencies including the New Jersey State Police. Brown appealed his psychological disqualification to the New York Civil Service Commission.
On February 19, 2016, according to Brown, the New York City Civil Service Commission affirmed Brown’s psychological disqualification along racial lines. Brown claims, Commissioners Nancy G. Chaffetz and Charles D. McFaul voted to affirm despite their pointed questioning about the veracity of the psychological assessments and Commissioner Rudy Washington voted to reverse the New York City Department of Finance’s determination and find him qualified for the position of Deputy Sheriff after his pointed questioning about the veracity of the psychological assessments.
“Unfortunately, this is an on-going source of contention about alleged biased psychological testing of Black or African-American candidates screened for law enforcement positions by NYPD Psychological Services. Mr. Brown isn’t an isolated case. While in the process of canvassing a law enforcement class, at least three (3) times a week, I hear from law enforcement candidates of color Blacks, Latinos and Asians about being psychologically disqualified. More often than not, after reviewing the psychologists reasoning, it’s hard not to conclude the reasoning is based solely upon a subjective analysis of the candidate. For the record, there are no perfect candidates. Hopefully, with this litigation, we can finally open the curtain and going forward make this psychological testing process more scientifically reliable. After all, the candidates have a right to fairly compete and the citizens deserve to have the best qualified employees to protect their rights,” says Eric Sanders.
Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., filed the federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York Docket No.: 16 cv 1106 on March 5, 2016.
About The Sanders Firm, P.C.
The Sanders Firm, P.C. offers those in the New York City area legal services related and connected to civil rights, civil service rights, criminal law and discrimination. We firmly believe in everyone’s individual rights that are described and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. We understand that our freedoms and liberties are sacrosanct and that they have been won in many and various hard-fought battles. We are committed in every way to protecting your civil rights. We are your voice for justice!
Eric Sanders, Esq.
President and Owner, The Sanders Firm, P.C.
Business Phone: 212-808-6515