Citing what it says are blatant examples of discrimination that the federal District Court in Richmond overlooked, the Justice Department has asked a U.S. appeals court to overrule the lower court and impose numerical hiring goals for blacks and women on the Virginia State Police.
In a brief filed Tuesday before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond the Justice Department's Civil Right Division challenged a Sept. 15 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge D. Dortch Warriner.
Warriner found that the Virginia State Police had discriminated against female applicants for a dispatcher's job. He ordered that the state police pay restitution to the applicants.
The Justice Department argued this week that Warriner ignored significant examples of discrimination and upheld the use of a testing procedure that disqualifies blacks although it has little bearing on the job they are applying for.
Justice also challenged Warriner's ruling that black applicants had not been discriminated against for troopers' jobs, and said that the judge's order that the state police report to him quarterly on the amount of money it was spending to recruit women and blacks failed to go far enough to correct previous discrimination.
The Justice Department argued that the court-imposed hiring goals are necessary because a "deeply ingrained hostility" makes the state police "unwilling to hire women as troopers, no matter how well qualified" they are, and that "experience shows that Virginia's (current) recruitment efforts do not guarantee equal opportunity for minority applicants."
Hiring goals are not uncommon as a result or discrimination suits, and differ from what are commonly known as quota systems. A quota system requires an employer to hire a specific number of employes. Numerical goals are less rigid, and would require in this case that the state police merely show a good faith effort to reach them.
The Justice Department cited employment figures showing that from 1948 to 1972, the state police personnel officer never recommended a black applicant for employment, and from 1973 through 1975, a vastly larger proportion of qualified black applicants was rejected than was the proportion of qualified whites.