United States District Court for the District of Maryland
United States of America v Baltimore County, Maryland
Civil Action No. 1:19-CV-02465-CCB

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • In its lawsuit, the United States alleges that the County has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against African American applicants for the BCPD entry-level police officer and police cadet positions in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, the United States alleges that the County’s pass/fail use of written examinations to select applicants for the entry-level police officer and police cadet position since January 1, 2013 caused a disparate impact on African American applicants on the basis of race. The United States also alleges that the written exams are not job related or consistent with business necessity, as required by Title VII. The United States did not allege that the County intentionally discriminated against African American applicants. The County denies that it has discriminated against any person or any group of persons in any way.

     

    In the interest of settling this matter and promoting the purposes of Title VII, the United States and the County have voluntarily entered into a Settlement Agreement. The Court held a Fairness Hearing on the Terms of the Settlement Agreement on April 6, 2021. The Settlement Agreement was then entered as an order by the District Court on May 24, 2021.

  • The Settlement Agreement, available here, fully describes the relief awards that will be available to the individuals impacted by the County’s selection process for entry-level police officers and police cadets. Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, eligible award recipients may receive:

    • Money (sometimes called “back pay”) to make up for some of the wages an eligible award recipient would have received if he or she had not been disqualified by the challenged written exams and had been hired into the entry-level police officer or cadet position. Specifically, the County has agreed to pay $2,000,000.00 in back pay that will be divided between eligible award recipients.
    • Priority hiring consideration for the entry-level police officer and cadet positions, if they meet current minimum qualifications for hire. The County has agreed to hire up to twenty (20) eligible award recipients as priority hires. To be hired, each individual must pass the County’s new exam that meets the required legal standards as well as other selection requirements. Individuals who are current BCPD police officers or cadets are not eligible for priority hiring consideration.
      • The individuals selected by the County as priority hires will receive the following benefits: retroactive seniority, vacation benefits, and a hiring bonus, subject to the terms and limitations of the Settlement Agreement.
        • Retroactive seniority means that selected priority hires will be treated as if they were hired on an earlier date than their actual hire date for certain purposes. Here, retroactive seniority will be used to calculate the regular rate of pay (and any other types of pay calculated based on the regular rate), annual leave, and accrual of vacation leave after the first year of employment. The earlier date will also be used by the County in any layoffs or reductions in work force, recall from layoffs or reduction in work force, assignments to specialized units (e.g. Homicide), and transfers between precincts. The retroactive seniority awarded in this settlement does not include seniority for scheduling the following: leave, personal time, vacation time or days off from work of any type or nature. The retroactive seniority awarded in this settlement also will not be used to satisfy any applicable probationary periods or any time-in-grade minimums required to be eligible for promotions, assignments, or transfers. The date used for a priority hire’s retroactive seniority will depend on the year the priority hire first took and failed a challenged written examination.
        • The selected priority hires will also receive a certain number of vacation days and a hiring bonus (instead of any retroactive pension benefits). The number of vacation days and amount of the hiring bonus will depend on the year the priority hire first took and failed a challenged written examination.
  • The period to apply for money or to become a priority hire has passed. The deadline was August 9, 2021.

  • The $2 million will be divided among everyone who requested money on their Interest-In-Relief form and whom the Court finds eligible to receive money. The amount of money an eligible person may receive depends on when they took and failed any of the challenged exams and also met the minimum qualifications for hire, and whether they could have been hired as a cadet or police officer at that time. Individuals who the Court found eligible to receive relief were sent Notice of Individual Relief Award and the Acceptance of Relief and Release of Claims Forms, which stated the expected amount of money to be paid, if any. In order to receive relief, you MUST have returned the documents and information requested in the Acceptance of Relief documents by August 5, 2022.

  • The time to complete and submit an Interest-in-Relief Form has passed. The deadline was August 9, 2021. Interest-In-Relief forms are no longer being accepted. All efforts were made to ensure that all potentially eligible individuals received an Interest-In-Relief form.

  • You will receive money or a chance to become a priority hire if you are listed as eligible for that type of relief on the Final Individual Relief Awards list, available here, and you completed the Acceptance of Relief Documents as described in the instructions by August 5, 2022. 

  • If you completed and submitted an Interest-In-Relief form and received a preliminary decision stating you are not eligible for money, then it was decided that you do not meet the eligibility criteria to receive a monetary award and the reason for the decision is on your notice of Proposed Individual Relief Award. At the Fairness Hearing on Individual Relief on June 17, 2022, the Court considered objections and later the same day approved the preliminary eligibility decisions.

  • If you completed and submitted an Interest-In-Relief form and received a preliminary decision stating you are not eligible to have a chance to become a priority hire, then it was determined that you do not meet the eligibility criteria to have a chance to become a priority hire. The reason for the decision is on your notice of Proposed Individual Relief Award. At the Fairness Hearing on Individual Relief on June 17, 2022, the Court considered objections and later the same day approved the the preliminary eligibility decisions.

     

  • Checks were sent by first-class U.S. Mail (with delivery tracking service) on October 28, 2022 to most individuals eligible for money. Checks for a small group of individuals are still being processed and will be sent as soon as possible. 

  • Individuals eligible for priority hiring consideration must take the new written test that is being developed under the terms of the Settlement Agreement.  That written test is still being developed.  When it is ready, all individuals eligible for priority hiring consideration will be sent a notice via mail and email (if available) containing the dates that the new test is being administered.  You will have six months from the date of that notice to take the new written test.  We currently believe the test may be ready in Spring 2023, but this is only an estimate and may change.

  • The Court held a Fairness Hearing on Individual Relief on June 17, 2022. At the Fairness Hearing, the Court heard presentations from the United States and Baltimore County about why they believe the Court should approve the Proposed Individual Relief Awards, submitted by the Parties on June 7, 2022, as Final.  The Parties also summarized the objections they received and responded to them.  The Court then heard from the objectors who said they wished to speak to the Court, and the Parties then responded to those objections. Shortly after the hearing, also on June 17, 2022, the Court approved the Proposed Individual Relief Awards list as Final.

  • Please contact the United States Department of Justice by phone or e-mail:

    • Toll-free telephone number: 1-800-556-1950 Option 2
    • E-mail: BaltimoreCountyPD.Settlement@usdoj.gov

     

    Please provide your full name and any information you would like to update, such as your mailing address, email address, or phone number.

    Please also provide a current phone number so someone may reach you if there are any follow-up questions.

  • Please contact the United States Department of Justice by phone or e-mail:

    • Toll-free telephone number: 1-800-556-1950 Option 2
    • E-mail: BaltimoreCountyPD.Settlement@usdoj.gov

 

Please do not call the Court or the Court Clerk’s Office to ask any questions about the case, because the Court will be unable to assist you. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

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