By Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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A Chicago City Council committee agreed, on February 8, 2016, on a$3.1 million settlement for discrimination in Police Department hiring. The payment would settle a federal suit filed only last week by the U.S. Department of Justice, but dating back to Police Department hiring 10 years ago under Mayor Richard M. Daley.

At the time, the city had a requirement that all applicants must have resided in the United States the previous 10 years. According to Jane Elinor Notz, first assistant corporation counsel, 47 applicants were disqualified on that specification. Yet federal law prohibits banning employment based on national origin, and an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Immigration and Nationality Act only covers national origin discrimination for between four and 14 employees) investigation determined there was discrimination.”

The settlement will pay for eight of the disqualified applicants to be hired with retroactive retirement benefits and back pay, and with $10,000 going to each of the other 47 applicants denied employment on the old restriction.

Alderman Edward Burke asked the City to determine whether the city could impose a citizenship requirement. As has been seen in a recent Office of Special Council settlement with the City of Eugene, the answer is no.