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Minority Police Officers Gain Ground In Discrimination Lawsuit

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BOSTON (AP) — Minority police officers who filed a lawsuit can move forward on their claim that a promotional exam discriminates against black and Hispanic officers, the highest court in Massachusetts ruled Friday.

The Supreme Judicial Court found that a Superior Court judge incorrectly dismissed the officers’ claim that the state had interfered with their right to be free of racial discrimination in opportunities for promotion.

The SJC ruled that claim can move forward, but said two other claims were properly dismissed.

The officers allege that the state, through its Human Resources Division, engaged in racial discrimination through the creation, design and repeated administration of a multiple-choice exam for police seeking promotion to sergeant. They said that, because of the exam’s discriminatory impact, black and Hispanic officers were ranked lower on a list used by municipalities to make promotional decisions.

The officers, who work in Boston, Lawrence, Springfield and Worcester, also allege that the exam is not a valid predictor of job performance.

The case will now be sent back to the lower court, where it will go through the normal pre-trial discovery process.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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