U.S. settles job discrimination suit against Chicago police

WASHINGTON Chicago agreed on Tuesday to pay $2 million in back pay and other benefits to 47 police candidates who were rejected under a residency requirement that the U.S. Justice Department alleges led to discrimination against foreign-born people.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued the city after investigating the claims of two men who passed the city’s police hiring exam in 2006 and said they were discriminated against because they had not lived in the United States for 10 continuous years.

Under the settlement, the Chicago Police Department will also offer jobs to eight of the rejected applicants, the Justice Department said in a statement.

The conclusion of the discrimination case comes as Chicago recruits new police officers for the first time in three years and at a time of heavy criticism for use of lethal force by the city’s police.

The lawsuit was separate from a Justice Department investigation into the department’s use-of-force practices, stemming from protests over the dozens of black men who have been killed by police in Chicago in recent years.

In the lawsuit, the Justice Department alleged that the 10-year continuous U.S. residency requirement for entry-level police officer applicants disproportionately removed applicants born outside the United States from consideration in the hiring process.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Chicago no longer uses the 10-year residency requirement. It now has a five-year residency requirement that the Justice Department will review to decide whether it is also discriminatory.

(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington; Additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz in Chicago; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Jonathan Oatis)

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