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Case Name United States v. Baltimore County EE-MD-0152
Docket / Court 1:19-cv-02465-CCB ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On August 27, 2019, the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (in Baltimore). The federal government sued Baltimore County for injunctive relief for employment dicrimination, alleging violations by the County Police Department of Title VII of the ... read more >
On August 27, 2019, the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (in Baltimore). The federal government sued Baltimore County for injunctive relief for employment dicrimination, alleging violations by the County Police Department of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-6(a), in its recruitment and hiring practices.

Specifically, the federal government alleged that the Baltimore County Office of Human Resources and Baltimore County Police Department developed and issued a series of discriminatory written exams to screen entry-level police officer applicants. Three different variations of the exam were used from 2009–2013, 2014, and 2015–2016. All three variations resulted in statistically lower pass rates for African American applicants compared to the pass rates for white applicants. The exams allegedly used as a pass/fail screening device in a multi-stage application in which those who failed were not permitted to move on to subsequent stages of the application process. The Department of Justice alleged that the material tested on the exams was not job-related consistent with business necessity and did not otherwise meet the requirements of Section 703(k) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(k). DOJ further alleged that as a result of these exams, BCPD has hired fewer African American applicants as BCPD entry-level police officers and police cadets since January 1, 2013, than it would have had it used a nondiscriminatory screening device.

The government sought injunctive relief requiring that the defendant:

1. Refrain from using written exams to screen applicants that result in a disparate impact on African Americans where such exams are not consistent with business necessity and do not otherwise meet the requirements of Section 703(k) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(k);
2. Provide remedial relief to and make whole all persons who have suffered individual loss as a result of the discrimination alleged; and
3. Adopt other appropriate nondiscriminatory measures to correct the present effects of its discriminatory policies and practices.

The parties were referred to Magistrate Judge A. David Copperthite on August 27, 2019; it was reassigned in early September to District Judge Catherine C. Blake. Shortly after entering discovery, the parties began negotiating a settlement agreement. Following a year of telephone conferences (between the parties)and hearing resets, the parties agreed to a settlement. On May 19, 2021, Judge Blake entered an order granting the parties' joint motion to finalize the settlement agreement.

The amended settlement includes the following:
(1) Enjoining the County from using the challenged exams and requiring the County to develop a new schematic which would not lead to a disparate impact against African American applicants (unless the impact is job-related and consistent with business necessity)
(2) Individual relief in the form of back pay for certain affected applicants who had been denied under the old policy, and priority hiring relief for up to twenty of those applicants in certain circumstances.
(3) Procedures and timelines for implementing the above.

The settlement agreement allowed the court to appoint an officer to monitor compliance with the settlement. Once the federal government and the county agree that everything in paragraphs 33-47 has been done, the case will remain open for approximately 90 days to give the federal government an opportunity to object to the rule change selected by the county. Based on the scope of the settlement, it seems likely that this will be at least a couple of years. The settlement has been entered as final by the court and all objections to the agreement were overruled in May 2021. So the case remains open for implementation.

Kevin Longhany - 09/26/2019
John Duffield - 06/29/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Retroactive Seniority
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
National Origin/Ethnicity
Other
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Baltimore County, MD
Plaintiff Description Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Priority hiring relief for affected persons
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2021 - n/a
Filed 08/27/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Md.
07/11/2021
5:16-cv-11173
EE-MD-0152-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Md.
08/27/2019
Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-MD-0152-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
11/04/2020
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 37-3]
EE-MD-0152-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
05/19/2021
Memorandum [ECF# 45] (2021 WL 2000480)
EE-MD-0152-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Blake, Catherine C. (D. Md.) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-0003 | EE-MD-0152-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baluch, Ejaz Hussain Jr. (Maryland) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-0002
Burrell, Meredith (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-0001 | EE-MD-0152-0002 | EE-MD-0152-9000
Dreiband, Eric S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-0002
Kennebrew, Delora L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-0002
Lawrence, Kathleen O. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-0001 | EE-MD-0152-0002 | EE-MD-0152-9000
Salazar, Kunti D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-0001 | EE-MD-0152-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Benjamin, James R (Maryland) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-0002
Field, Michael E. (Maryland) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-9000
Gaskins, Gregory E. (Maryland) show/hide docs
EE-MD-0152-9000

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