Vanguard Justice Soc., Inc. v. Hughes

Decision Date14 June 1984
Docket NumberCiv. No. 73-1105-K.
Citation592 F. Supp. 245
PartiesVANGUARD JUSTICE SOCIETY, INCORPORATED, et al. v. Harry HUGHES, Governor of the State of Maryland, et al.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Maryland


Norris C. Ramsey, and Anthony W. Robinson and Donald Jones, Baltimore, Md., for plaintiffs.

Benjamin L. Brown, City Sol., and J. Shawn Alcarese and Millard S. Rubenstein, Asst. City Sols., Baltimore, Md., for defendants.

FRANK A. KAUFMAN, Chief Judge:

In an opinion filed March 29, 19791, this Court held, inter alia, that the sergeant's promotional examinations used by the Police Department ("Department") of Baltimore City ("City") in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976 and 1977 violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., ("Title VII") because those exams had a racially adverse impact upon blacks and because defendants had not shown that the exams were job-related.2 In that opinion, certain questions relating to relief were held sub curia pending further presentation of evidence and legal argument. Those outstanding issues are now ripe for decision.

Plaintiffs3 herein challenge the validity of the 1982 written sergeant's promotional exam. That written exam was designed by Baltimore Civil Service Commission ("Commission") personnel and was administered to 605 candidates for sergeant on May 8, 1982. During a nonjury trial held on January 5-6 and January 17-20, 1984, a number of expert and lay witnesses testified. Subsequently, pre- and post-trial memoranda, along with other documents, were filed. After careful review of the entire record in this litigation, this Court holds that the 1982 written exam is invalid and that appropriate relief as set forth infra is required. Findings of fact and conclusions of law, in accordance with Federal Civil Rule 52(a), are set forth below.


The written exam in question, designated Exam No. 820508, was one part of a threestep promotional procedure employed in 1982 to promote police officers to the rank of sergeant. The other two parts consisted of a promotional appraisal and an oral examination. All three components of the promotional procedure were designed and administered by the Commission, under the supervision of Robert G. Wendland, Deputy Personnel Director. The 605 candidates for sergeant, in addition to sitting for the 115-question written exam, were evaluated by their supervisors on the basis of a supervisory appraisal, called the promotional appraisal. The promotional appraisal was designed to test seven skills, deemed by the Commission to be "significant elements of a sergeant's job."4 A candidate's scores on the written exam and the promotional appraisal were scaled, multiplied by the weight assigned to the written exam (40%) and to the promotional appraisal (30%) and added together to produce an overall score for each candidate on those two components. Then, each candidate's weighted, composite score was ranked. Only the top 95 candidates, of the original 605, were given the oral exam. The oral exam (weighted 30%) consisted of problem analysis exercises and was designed to test for six skills which the Commission deemed "essential"5 to the sergeant's job. After all three component scores were computed, the Commission published an eligibility list, ranking the top 95 candidates.6

The eligibility list is designed to be used until the list is exhausted, a new selection procedure is developed, or the list expires. Individuals are promoted, in accordance with their ranking, from the eligibility list as vacancies occur. At the time of trial on January 20, 1984, 15 persons — 12 whites and 3 blacks — had been promoted from the 1982 eligibility list.7 The eligibility list is scheduled to expire in accordance with applicable law in October, 1984.

Plaintiffs in this litigation are presently challenging only the written exam. Plaintiffs concede that any racially adverse impact of the overall promotional procedure is attributable solely to the written exam.8 The 115-question, multiple-choice written exam was developed by a two-phase process: first, a job analysis was devised and second, the test itself was constructed. A thorough job analysis was prepared by Management Scientists, Inc. ("MSI") experts hired by the City in connection with the 1981 sergeant's promotional procedure.9 No independent job analysis was performed for the 1982 promotional procedure. Rather, in the Commission's 1982 Validation Report, "the reader is referred to the Ford report10 and volume one of the MSI report for a comprehensive discussion of the task analysis and the linkage of measured knowledges, skills and abilities to the individual tasks required on the job."11 In other words, while an expert psychometric firm, MSI, was consulted and did prepare a job analysis for the 1981 promotional procedure, no new job analysis was prepared in 1982. Instead, the City, acting without expert assistance, relied on the 1981 job analysis, the 1981 Ford report, and earlier MSI reports, in devising its 1982 promotional procedure and, in particular, the written exam. Mr. Wendland testified at trial that the 1982 Validation Report "piggybacked" upon the 1981 job analysis, although some modifications were made to the job analysis in 1982. Thus, in considering the validity of the job analysis used in the 1982 sergeant's promotional procedure, review of both the 1981 MSI job analysis and the modifications made thereto in 1982 is required.

The job analysis prepared by MSI in 1981 consisted of five separate steps.12 First, based on interviews, full shift observation and questionnaires completed by 73 randomly selected sergeants, MSI developed a list of "tasks" related to various "job components" which sergeants generally perform.13 As part of that step, the incumbent sergeants assigned point values to each task and to each job component based on frequency of occurrence, importance, complexity and criticality, and also based on the amount of time normally spent performing that task or job component. Second, SKAP lists14 (lists of S kills, K nowledges, A bilities and P ersonal Characteristics) were generated for each job component found to be a part of the sergeant's job.

In the third step, the MSI Project Director, David Wagner, prepared a SKAP rating questionnaire to measure the importance, or to determine the relative weight, of each SKAP with respect to the successful performance of a sergeant's job. The SKAP rating questionnaire was distributed to fifty randomly selected incumbent sergeants who assigned points to each SKAP to reflect the importance of that SKAP to successful performance of each job component. The sergeants also indicated whether they were of the opinion that a sergeant, on the first day he was on the job, needed to perform a particular SKAP.

In the fourth step, MSI determined the importance of each SKAP in relation to the job of police sergeant. To so do, MSI multiplied the average SKAP weight by each job component value. That produced a total value for a SKAP within a given job component. The values for SKAPs which appeared in more than one job component were then added together to arrive at a total SKAP value.15 In its simplest form, that procedure assigned a numerical value to each SKAP which each sergeant needed in order to perform the job of police sergeant. The relevant SKAPs and their values are set forth in Table 1, "Description of SKAP Clusters with Associated Job Analysis Points."16

As a final step in the 1981 job analysis, MSI determined which of three measurement components—the written test, the performance appraisal17 or the assessment center18 — would be most effective for testing each SKAP cluster.19 MSI determined that the Knowledges SKAP, assigned 4182 job analysis points, was to be measured on the written exam, while 27 other SKAPs were to be measured by the other two test components.20 MSI calculated the appropriate weights for the written exam (25%), the performance appraisal (30%) and the assessment center (45%) by determining the percentage of job analysis points allocated to each test component.

As noted earlier, the 1981 MSI job analysis was modified substantially by Commission personnel in 1982. Only 12 of the 28 SKAPs identified in the 1981 job analysis were included in the 1982 job analysis and were the subject of testing in the 1982 promotional procedure. Among those SKAPs deleted in 1982 was the second most-heavily weighted SKAP, that is, supervisory ability.21 Of the 12 SKAPs included in the 1982 job analysis, two, knowledges and reading comprehension, were tested for in the 1982 written exam. The 10 remaining SKAPs were measured by the promotional appraisal and/or the oral exam. Additionally, the weightings of the three test components were substantially altered in 1982. In explaining the reweighting, the Commission stated:

Some of the factors SKAPs rated or assessed in 1981 were deleted from the 1982 examination. Based on the new set of factors, the relative weights for the written test, supervisory rating and oral examination are as follows:
Written Test: 40%
Supervisory Promotional Appraisal: 30%
Oral Examination: 30%22

The reweighting resulted in the written exam, which is the only test component alleged to have a racially adverse impact,23 being weighted most heavily in the 1982 promotional procedure.

The second major phase in developing the 1982 promotional procedure was the construction of the three testing components. Because the only component of the 1982 promotional procedure challenged in this litigation is the written exam, discussion in this opinion is limited to the construction of that exam. It bears emphasizing that the procedures used in constructing the 1982 written exam differed significantly from those employed by MSI in constructing the 1981 written exam. In 1981, for example, MSI first conducted a series of workshops for Commission personnel to train them in writing...

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2 cases
  • Hispanic Nat'l Law Enforcement Ass'n NCR v. Prince George's Cnty.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Maryland
    • April 21, 2021
    ...other characteristics identified in the job analysis as relevant to the work of a POFC or Corporal. See Vanguard Just. Soc., Inc. v. Hughes , 592 F. Supp. 245, 257-58, 260 (D. Md. 1984) (finding that a test for Maryland police officers was invalid in part because the test "omitted important......
  • Smith v. City of Bos.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Massachusetts
    • November 16, 2015
    ...42 U.S.C. § 2000e-7 ); Bridgeport Guardians, Inc. , 933 F.2d at 1148 (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-7 ); Vanguard Justice Soc., Inc. v. Hughes , 592 F.Supp. 245, 268 (D.Md.1984) (citing Guardians , 630 F.2d at 104 ). Moreover, current Chief Judge Saris noted in Bradley that it was not clear tha......

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