Arundel accused of discrimination Woman denied job despite bias finding

January 22, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

A corrections officer at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center says the county refuses to give her a job as a sheriff's deputy, despite a finding by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that she is being discriminated against.

The commission ruled in November that the county discriminated against Maxine Brown, of Glen Burnie, when she was turned down for a sheriff's deputy position. To settle the matter, the commission suggested the county give her the position and back pay.

But county officials disagree, Assistant County Attorney Catherine Durkan said.

"We have not been willing to settle on the terms proposed," she said. "We are prepared to litigate."

The county says it rejected Ms. Brown on two counts.

The county personnel office initially said Ms. Brown was qualified for the position when she applied in February 1991. But she was turned down after showing "defensive" characteristics on a psychological test, according to the EEOC ruling.

Also, her background check turned up problems, the ruling said, but these were not described in the document.

Ms. Brown, however, said that if she had flunked her background check, she never would have gotten as far in her application process as taking the psychological test.

"What exactly does that mean?" Ms. Brown asked. "I work in a jail. I work with a hundred Dontay Carters. I should be defensive. Maybe if the guards responsible for him were more defensive, he would not have escaped."

Dontay Carter, a convicted killer, escaped from a Baltimore courthouse Monday while on trial for other charges, only to be recaptured 28 hours later.

While Ms. Brown was denied the position, the sheriff's department has hired several other applicants, including two who also had negative psychological test results, according to the EEOC ruling.

The ruling said one of those applicants showed signs of being a potential alcohol abuser who would reject authority and could be argumentative. The other, despite his extensive police experience, appeared to have a disciplinary problem.

Ms. Brown would be the only black woman sheriff's deputy. Out of 29 deputies, four are black and three are women.

"It's fine if I'm not qualified for the job," Ms. Brown said. "I'm not asking for it because I'm black and female, but because I'm interested in doing the job."

Ms. Brown's case was forwarded to the U.S. Justice Department for review Jan. 11. The Justice Department could bring a civil suit against the county, or it could give Ms. Brown the right to sue the county herself for violating federal discrimination laws.

Obern Rainey, spokeswoman for the department, said the department has not received the complaint. She would not comment on what actions could be taken.

Meanwhile, Ms. Brown said she still wants the job.

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