The Justice Department sued the city of Gallup, N.M., yesterday, charging that it engaged in employment discrimination against American Indians and women.

In a civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, the government accused the city of failing to hire and recruit Indian applicants on the same basis as Anglo or Hispanic applicants. The city also was charged with using subjective procedures that had an adverse impact on hiring Indians and women and that were not required for successful job performance.

This is the second time the Justice Department has filed an employment suit charging discrimination against American Indians. The first case was filed against Farmington, N.M., in 1980, during the Carter administration, and settled a year later, according to a department spokesman.

The lawsuit comes at a time when the Reagan administration is under sharp attack for its policies on sex discrimination. The criticism recently has focused on the charges of a former Justice employe that the administration's plan to correct discriminatory laws is a "sham."

Justice's lawsuit contends that Gallup, a city of 18,000 located about 130 miles west of Albuquerque and near the largest Indian reservation in the country, has about 82 police and fire officials, of whom only four are Indians and only one is a woman.

The suit said the city employs approximately 370 persons, but only 55 are American Indians, about 15 percent of the workforce. The 1980 census report showed the population of McKinley County, where Gallup is located, to be about 52 percent Indian and about 41 percent women, according to the suit.