The Iowa Supreme Court upheld a Polk County District Court ruling that determined the State of Iowa did not discriminate against African-Americans in their hiring and promotion practices. Attorney Tom Newkirk had argued in the class action suit that the mostly white managers had an implicit bias against African-Americans. Newkirk says he is not surprised by the Supreme Court ruling, but says the justices did not totally overlook his arguments.
The Supreme Court acknowledged discrimination may have occurred, but said the arguments didn’t convince the court it was widespread throughout 37 departments in the state. Iowa Solicitor General Jeff Thompson says since the suit was filed, Iowa has worked to make hiring more objective.
There are 29 named class members in the lawsuit and as many as six-thousand members involving over 20-thousand employment applications going back to 2003.