Census Bureau discriminates, class action suit says

The U.S. Census Bureau has been systematically discriminating against people by requiring them to produce information about prior arrests — even if the person was never convicted. This allegation comes in a class action lawsuit filed today in federal court in New York. Public Citizen is co-counsel in the case.

According to the suit, thousands of African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans have been rejected for Census jobs during the federal government’s massive hiring campaign for because of systematic discrimination. The bureau requires applicants to produce within 30 days the “official” court disposition for any arrest record — regardless of whether a conviction resulted, the nature of the arrest or its relationship to the job.

 “The procedures being used by the Census Bureau result in unnecessary barriers to employment for minorities interested in working on the Census effort,” said Public Citizen attorney Michael Kirkpatrick. “We’re involved in this lawsuit to help dismantle those barriers.”