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U.S. May Sue County if Accord on Latino Hiring Policies Fails

October 11, 1990|RICHARD SIMON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Federal officials say the Justice Department may file a lawsuit to force the hiring and promotion of more Latinos if a settlement cannot be reached with Los Angeles County.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission last month in a report accused Los Angeles County of discriminating against Latinos in hiring and promoting employees in the county's huge public hospital system.

The report by the EEOC follows a three-year investigation and concludes that there is "reasonable cause to believe that the (county Department of Health Services) has engaged in unlawful employment practices."

The investigation was triggered by charges filed by EEOC Commissioner Tony E. Gallegos in response to complaints from Latino county employees. Gallegos is a former president of the Mexican-American Opportunity Foundation in Los Angeles. He was appointed to the commission by former President Reagan in 1982 and reappointed by President Bush.

The report singles out County-USC and Martin Luther King, Jr./Drew medical centers for failing to hire and promote Latinos "on a basis equal to other ethnic or racial groups."

The Health Services Department, the county's largest agency with 22,000 workers, is about 22% Latino, compared to the county's estimated 35% Latino population.

County officials acknowledged that Latinos are under-represented, but denied that it was the result of discrimination.

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