My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Does this lawsuit against the Census Bureau have legitimacy? Perhaps

H/t to former MyTwoCensus editor Emily Babay for informing me of the following lawsuit filed against the Census Bureau for its hiring practices. The Philadelphia Inquirer brings us the following:

Phila. woman at center of census lawsuit

By Jane M. Von Bergen

Paying $17.75 an hour, U.S. Census jobs, though temporary, are attractive in an economy where unemployment is stuck at 9.7 percent. But the Census Bureau’s screening policies, designed to safeguard the public, end up discriminating against minorities, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

That’s because the bureau has set up an “arbitrary barrier to employment” for any person with an arrest record, “no matter how trivial or disconnected from the requirements of the job,” the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan, says. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is named as the defendant.

The national suit, filed by Outten & Golden L.L.P. in New York and a coalition of public-interest organizations, seeks class-action status on behalf of those turned down for a job if they were arrested and not convicted, or convicted for an offense irrelevant to the job.

“The U.S. Census Bureau’s top priority is the safety of both our workforce and the American public,” Commerce Department spokesman Nicholas Kimball responded. “Americans must be confident that, if . . . a census taker must come to their door to count them, we’ve taken steps to ensure their safety.”

Kimball declined to comment on the suit.

One of the two lead plaintiffs, Evelyn Houser, 69, of North Philadelphia, thinks she is qualified to fill one of the 1.2 million census positions. That’s because Houser worked for the census before, in 1990.

“What’s the difference between then and now?” she asked in an interview Tuesday. “It’s like a slap in the face.”

The difference, said her lawyer, Sharon Dietrich with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, is the government’s cumbersome screening process.

Computers kick back any application with an arrest record, requiring more documentation, but the Census Bureau doesn’t make it clear what documentation is required, Dietrich said.

The discrimination occurs because the arrest and conviction rates of African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans exceed those of whites, the suit says. Compounding the problem, it says, is that one in three arrests do not lead to prosecution or conviction, yet the bureau’s system does not readily distinguish between arrests and convictions.

“The processes are screening out any kind of criminal case, no matter what,” Dietrich said.

“If you were arrested years ago for a minor offense, you are asked to comply with the same burdensome process as if you had been released from jail last week after committing a murder,” she said,

Plaintiffs’ attorney Samuel Miller, of Outten & Golden, estimates that as many as one million applicants may have been caught up in the process, with tens of thousands unfairly deterred or excluded from employment.

In 1981, Houser was a 39-year-old mother raising four children on welfare and food stamps. Her monthly check was several days away, but she was out of food when, going outside to take out the trash, she found a check next to the Dumpster.

“I went home and told my kids, ‘God sent me a piece of paper that says we’re going to eat tonight.’ ”

Houser shouldn’t have done it, but she tried to cash the check. She was arrested. Instead of being convicted, she was placed in alternative rehabilitation program. Her record remains clean, Dietrich said.

In 1990, Houser got a job with the census. Last year, she decided to apply again and passed a qualifying test.

A month or so later, the Census Bureau sent her a letter, asking her for documentation. The way she read it, her fingerprints would suffice, so she had them taken and sent them in the next day.

The bureau rejected her because, it said, she hadn’t sent the right documentation. Dietrich called the bureau’s communications confusing.

Since then, Houser has been involved in a long appeals process, which culminated in the filing of the suit.

Houser, who lives in subsidized housing, estimated that 25 percent of her working-age neighbors are unemployed. They are “just existing,” she said. “It’s just survival.”

She’s helping her neighbors find a path to employment, Houser said. “I’m a little gray-haired old lady and I’m trying to lead them in a better way.”

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44 Responses to “Does this lawsuit against the Census Bureau have legitimacy? Perhaps”

  1. census worker in houston Says:

    I find this really interesting since my stepson went to sign up for community service this week in Houston as part of his felony probation and was told that he could work for the census as a volunteer going door to door without pay to get some of his required hours. My husband, on the other hand, has never been convicted of anything but failed the background check for census employment.

  2. greg perkins Says:

    I AM A 60 YEAR OLD MAN LIVING IN WASHINGTON DC ALL MY LIFE. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1965NTHAT I HAVE BEEN UNEMPLOYED AND HAD TO APPLY FOR A JOB. I TOO, RECIEVED A LETTER STATING I HAD A CRIMINAL RECORD FROM CENSUS. PHONE CALL HAVE BEEN FRUIT-LESS. MY ONLY ENCOUNTER WITH A SET OF “HANDCUFFS” IN MY LIFE WAS ABOUT 25 YEARS AGO WITH A TRAFFIC VIOLATION.(EXPIRED DRIVERS LICENCE). YET CENSUS WANT”S A COURT DISPOSITION OF THE CASE. THIS KIND OF REMINDS ME OF THE “VOTER RIGHT DAYS” YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE BUT, WE’LL GOING TO MAKE IT DIFFICULT

  3. greg perkins Says:

    CN ANYBODY E-MAIL ME ON HOW TO BECOME A PART OF THE PHILLY SUIT AGAINST CENSUS, FOR JOB DISCRIMINATION. I LIVE IN WASHINGTON DC. 202-291-2516 GREG P.

  4. Reginald Greeves Says:

    Again with the well-worn race card. Why doesn’t the plaintiff include Asian-Americans, whose criminal activity falls statistically below that of those selected-against ethnicities cited, at the discriminating benchmark, as well? Secretary Locke- an appointee of the first black President of the United States, while we’re on the disadvantages of race- is Chinese-American. How about suing China, while we’re at it? They’re doing great with money and work right now, and must have some we can bully out of them.
    A positive suggestion might be applying for Federal security work. Forget that flyweight BC-170D the Census gives you. Fill in the SF-86 for one of these jobs, and see what you get in return.
    Complaining about being passed over because of marginal at best trustworthiness is moot in the face of the volume of genuinely qualified applicants for these posts, and shows us what having all that time on one’s hands when unemployed can inspire (much as the homeless man I saw walk into a car awaiting a green light, falling down, and screaming for the cops with “My leg, my leg!”).
    While the aggrieved party deserves to be heard for opinion, the sheer numbers of those absolutely qualified should render complaints so broadly based, yet schemed up to serve one person’s interests, as among those “full of sound and fury” class adventures.
    I, for one, am reassured to see the selection process as critical as it is. For all its detractors, the Census Bureau has historically endeavored to uphold a standard of trustworthiness (even in the face of the Second War Powers Act fiasco). With understanding and regret for the self-identified victim in this episode: as important as one’s own livelihood can be, should it be held as so important as to justify any potential compromise to the greater populace of our Nation?

  5. JAG Says:

    Last year, the “scandal” on this website was how does a person convicted of theft 15 years ago get hired by the census? Now, they’re acting like it’s a crime to question somebody about a 15 year old theft conviction.

    It’s just another example of a lawsuit happy america.

  6. Steph Says:

    With high unemployment this year, the census has had an increase of well-qualified and over-qualified applicants. So they can be more picky with who they offer work to. Maybe in the past they were allowed to overlook minor infractions, but as stated above, they don’t have to this time, since there are plenty of applicants who don’t have any police incidents in their backgrounds.
    Now, with supposedly high turn over rate expected, the census bureau will encourage people with the more minor infractions to clarify them, just in case they might be needed to fill in.

  7. LCO-AM Says:

    The hiring process does not allow for a proper interview to hire the best possible person for the job, that is a fact/

    Simple as that, there should be more thought put into this process instead of what is currently in place.

    And to those with a criminal record, it’s got to be a felony and even then, only certain ones are prohibited from working with the census.

    If you do have an open arrest that could of been a felony, you’ll have 30 short days to clear it up.

    The bigger concern is the lack of pay for clerks, many of whom will be handling critical tasks as well as having to work in near sweatshop conditions (seriously).

    The other is the asbolute rule of no overtime – I know managers who make less than ten bucks an hour because they are required to work how ever many hours it takes to get the job done. During many operations, this can be 60 or more hours per week.

    If PBOCS and a few other issues do not get resolved, expect turnover issues within the LCO’s management.

    They methods used by upper management at the RCC and above borders on bullying at it’s best. This is probably because they view LCO staff as disposable, this attitude would never fly in private industry.

    Many first time census workers are now using this experience to base how all of the government functions – think about that for a moment.

  8. John Says:

    There is no comment on the woman’s actual score on the test only that she “passed”….with a larger pool of applicants the Census Bureau can be more picky in some areas.
    As to her comment about the racial implications of the hiring question, that is a joke. The Census Bureau may offer the most opportunity for all blacks, asians, gays, and whatever the “impacted group of the month” is.
    Also, the job is a temporary job that will evaporate….allthough at a slower rate in the areas that have heavy concentrations of immigrants and minorities.
    The suit is just another example of “too many lawyers, with too few things to do.”
    Get Real

  9. My Two Census » Blog Archive » New York Times Editorial Criticizes Census Bureau Hiring Says:

    [...] following New York Times editorial concerns the class action lawsuit that we reported on last week. For many months now, MyTwoCensus.com has criticized 2010 Census hiring [...]

  10. Adam Klein Says:

    To “Census Worker in Houston” — my name is Adam Klein — one of the lawyers on the Census discrimination lawsuit — please call me at 212 245 1000. What you said is very interesting – I would like to speak with you.

    Adam

  11. StudentfromS.F Says:

    I applied for the census and passed the test. Then I got the infamous letter on the mail. I was shocked to find out that they could not tell me what exactly they needed from me. I am currently a student in S.F bay area and could not get access to information from any court because I am originally from L.A. and was told I had to go to a court in L.A in person and request that information. I made the effort to take the 7 hour one way drive in the middle of the week when I should have been in class only to find out that there was no records at all for an arrest I was involved in years ago, it did not involve any conviction. I went to three courts and the police station where I was released from and none of them could provide me with any hard evidence of the arrest. This was a big disappointment for me seeing that my last job was working as a tutor for a non-profit which also did a F.B.I background check and found nothing exempting me from getting the job. Why is the Census doing this? I am just a broke student looking to make some money to pay my rent.

  12. Stephen Robert Morse Says:

    Student, this sounds interesting. Would love to hear more of your story.

  13. Adam Klein Says:

    Stephen — can you give me a call at 212 245 1000. Thx.

    Adam Klein

  14. ANON Says:

    Adam,

    The hiring process for CSC is a mess too……You should look into that.

  15. Cheryl Says:

    The Census has a credibility problem and never more so than this time around. I worked 1990, 2000 and 2009 and trained last month. I have yet to be called. A call to the Dallas Regional office and a chat with John Bethea – big cheese – only to learn veterans and handioap are placed at the top of the list. The computer does NOT recognize experience, stellar work history or training. What a terrible waste of tax payers money!

  16. don Says:

    I too was discriminated against. My roommate and I got the same test score, but he didn’t get profiled, and I did for a very small infraction. The census people called him, but not me? I sent in my forms to protest, but I believe there intention was to never respond actually. If anyone knows of how to be a part of this class action lawsuit please contact me @ eurocasey@yahoo.com thank you.

  17. Robbe Portman Says:

    I was hired and then fired on the third day after my fingerprints were checked. The case was expunged from my records in 1995 but I guess my fingerprints are in the system irregardless of the expungement.

  18. Craig G Says:

    I worked the 1980, 1990, 1998 Map Project, Assistant Crew Leader 2000 and was denied ability to work for the 2010 based on this FBI background check.
    The application form clearly asks if any crimes last 10 years, I had a charge from 1981 which did not deny me from working my previous Census jobs.
    I would like to be included into this class-action lawsuit and request information… hughes_37 at hotmail dot com. Thanks much… I was so dissapointed I could not work this round especially when they had almost promised me a Crew Leader or higher position when I had called into the Chicago office…

  19. Hired then Humiliated Says:

    I passed the Census test in 2009, missing only 2 questions. I was honest on the application (open container 9/2000) NO arrest…only charged. I was called in March of 2010 and told I’d start work on Tuesday 4-27-2010 and was fingerprinted along with everyone else. Next day, 4-28-2010, I was asked to be a Crew Leader Assistant. On Friday 4-30-2010, we were all taking a quiz when I heard the Crew Leader say my name LOUDLY in the hallway (the door was open). The other Crew Leader Assistant (my peer) went up to the Crew Leader and they began whispering and discussing the phone call (and me). People aren’t DEAF. The CL took one of my “people” into the other room (probably asking her to take over as CLA)(when she was doing this the other CLA and one of her people she was going to “observe working” were discussing their plans to “go drinking” across the street from their meeting place). The CL then told me that I had to turn everything in, and to call the Regional Office. I first phoned the local office & was given # 1-800-845-8243. One woman kept asking “you were WORKING”? When I said “yes, and I was asked to be a CLA”, she said the Census Bureau was NOT doing things RIGHT. Another man said I was listed as “FAVORABLE” (for hire) November of 2009 (I called the 800 # about 4 times, hoping to get whatever issue there was resolved so I could get back to work). I needed my $13 an hour job (and 50 cents a mile). As a white female with a physical disability; It’s extremely difficult to make ends meet.

  20. Hired then Humiliated Says:

    As Census workers we were REQUIRED by LAW to keep information confidential. So why was it OK for the CL and the other CLA to discuss what SHOULD HAVE BEEN a private personnel issue? The other CLA was NOT my supervisor. Why was this discussed in the presence of EVERYONE in the room?
    I NEVER received a letter prior to my start date of 4-27-2010, and had no reason to believe I would be abruptly terminated.

  21. Terminated Census Worker in New York Says:

    My story: I passed the Census Test in 2009 and filled out, truthfully and completely, all information regarding criminal history background. I received a call soon afterwards that I would be hired and to wait for another call. I didn’t get a call until March 2010 and I was hired as an enumerator. I started my training on April 26 and fingerprinted as all trainees were. I also filled out all the requisite forms including Optional Form 306, completely and truthfully, with the EXACT SAME INFORMATION as I provided along with my test a year ago. At the end of the first week, My Crew Leader (CL) asked me to be an Assistant Crew Leader and I was happy to fill that position, even though it did not mean an increase in pay. Although I am a professional in another field and am holding onto a part-time low-paying job, I was willing, like many people in this current economy, to work the temporary Census position. And, actually, ENJOYED IT and all the people I worked with. My Crew Leader was happy with me and the four people who were assigned to me were happy to work with me.

    When I returned from the field on Tuesday, May 4th, I received a phone call from the LCO in New York, asking me if I had received a letter dated April 28th which terminated my position. I had not received this letter. I was then informed that I was terminated as of yesterday, May 4th and I was to turn my badge over to my CL along with all my materials. I was, needless to say, shocked and disappointed. Today, May 5th, I received the letter. “Based on the nature of the facts disclosed (from my fingerprint record and my past criminal history information disclosed on Optional Form 306) we were not able to mke a favorable determination regarding your continued employment. Your employment with the Census Bureau is terminated effective immediately.”

    I have been on the phone with various departments and learned from BACKGROUND CHECKS that there are many similar cases to mine. “Interesting glitches” as the worker told me on the phone. As the old expression goes, “that and a token will get be in the subway.” I have just been terminated from a job that I was hired to do and I confirmed that BACKGROUND CHECKS – the Department that terminated me – is the same Department that in reviewed my information attached to my TEST and subsequently HIRED ME BASED ON THE SAME INFORMATION. WHAT CHANGED? WHAT IS THE CRITERIA THAT THE CENSUS BUREAU USES FOR HIRING? NO ONE CAN ANSWER THAT QUESTION IN 4 hours of phone calls. WHY ALL OF A SUDDEN, DID THEY FIRE ME BASED ON THE SAME INFORMATION I PROVIDED WHEN THEY HIRED ME? Sorry for this long-winded submission but I know that I was wrongfully terminated. And I needed this job. Especially with a disability that didn’t affect my performance. My CL was shocked when I revealed the news that I was terminated.

    That’s about it. What next – joining class action lawsuits? pursuing a lawsuit of my own? Writing letters to my congressman and Senator. My President?

  22. Kristina Says:

    Confusing at Best… I was hired as a numerator for census 2010 in April. I went to Admin day and finished the training. On the fifth day at work, my crew leader pulls me aside and says she has to “dismiss me” apparently something came up with my background record. She then confiscated all of my Census books, badge, etc. and gave me an 800 number to call. I not only have called that number several times, but any other number I could find. I have contacted The Department of Justice, who supposedly ran the background check. I have called The Department of Commerce, Washington Office, sent e-mails. I have been directed back to the local census office,the regional census office and they tell me call back to the 800#’s etc. etc. Nothing but the run around. I have never been arrested, detained, or involved in anything illegal in my life!! The worst part is, that The Census Bureau’s policy say’s “if something comes back as a match on your background, you are given the opportunity to dispute it and the census will send you a copy of such information as well as a detailed letter explaining the next steps to take.” DONT COUNT ON IT OR MAYBE THAT POLICY ONLY APPLIES IF YOU ARE A CRIMINAL. ?

  23. Adding to the terminated Says:

    I have been working for the 2010 Census since last year. I have worked four phases. Sunday my CL told me she needed to speak with me on Monday, I came in Monday morning and was told I was being suspended. She did not know why. I called our LCO and was told it was a background check issue and asked if I had received a letter. I explained I have been working for a year and all she be fine. I was given a toll free number. I called and verified I was clear for employment. Called the LCO back. They called the toll free number and checked. Next they called me back and said get back to work. Called my CL who became angry that I went over her head. Said she would call me. Did not hear back from her till later that night. Was chewed out again for calling LCO and told not to call or speak to anyone until I heard from her.
    Tonight I was called and told by her I have been terminated. I asked her why and she said they do not tell her but I must come right now and turn in my materials.
    I have Zero criminal background. Never have had any issues.
    The CL is a mess and routinely fails to help make corrections and I will get nowhere with her. I called the RCC number and was told not to turn in my materials until I hear from the LCO. I am going to the LCO in the morning.
    We live in a very small community and I already heard from someone else that it is being said I must have falsified forms thats why I have been fired. My work in my community requires my reputation to be intact.

    I feel this is retaliation for issues with the CL. She was 20 minutes late back to training one day, failed to give me correct meeting times another, and did not asssist with form issues. When I spoke up about issues with forms I was immediately treated with disdain, since then I have documented more issues with her work product.
    I also worked on previous Census’es. Never have had a bad review or problem with my work and all CL’s during this Census have given me nothing but praise. Retaliation is rough when your spouse is disabled and you have no other options for income in a rural community.

  24. Jerry Carman Says:

    To Adam Klein;
    I am interested in joining the lawsuit. I have filled out a questionaire on your website, but would like to know if you have a direct email & fax#, I have some documents that might be of interest, but I’ll have to admit, it does not even come close to the census worker in Houston. My email is jerrywcarman@yahoo.com. Believe me, there is absolutely no cooperation from the news media in the Greenville SC & surrounding market about this matter of getting the word out.

  25. Jerry Carman Says:

    Regarding the census worker in Houston, just in case you might wonder how it is that folks with minor offenses & dismissed cases have been denied employment because of fingerprint records turning up in the FBI database, while a convicted felon on parole can can do unpaid community servica work as a census taker, yes it can happen. This is because after you applied, there was a background check, & we know what happened next. Meanwhile, a parolee required to do community gets a list of agencies & charities, probably from his parole officer, where to perform community service work, then contacts the agency or charity. Then he shows up for work. He could actually work alongside workers that are paid employees, & looking on, you couldn’t tell the difference. In the case of the Census, he might have to take the test & be trained, but unlike you would if you were applying for a job, a community service worker doesn’t fill out a application for employment, so there is no background check. I mean really, why would you do a background check on somebody that you know has a police record?

  26. Me Says:

    I took the test for an enumerator position last year, at that time I was completely upfront with my arrest record (3 misdemeanor marjuana charges). They called me back in April 2010 to tell me that I was hired and th.e lady gave me the start dates ect. Well I did the training (4 full days) and on the first day I filled out another paper along with fingerprints and I was again completely upfront with my charges. After the 4th day we were released into the field. 2 hours later my crew leader called and said that I needed to give him my badge and supplies and that I needed to call this number. I did and they told me I was on hold due to my background check and they assured me that I was not the only one affected and that most people get their jobs back after we send in the info they need. One week after that I finally got the letter with the return lables and I expressed mailed my court cases back to them. This was a month ago and I havent heard anything back. I told them about my offenses a YEAR ago!!! They still hired me and then pretty much fired me. Why would the government hire someone with offenses (esp when I told them everything) just to waste my time and fire me. Why do they not do background checks after you take the test in the first place instead of waiting a year, hiring, firing, and then paying the person. It makes no sense to me at all. Their hiring system is so inefficient.

  27. Jerry Carman Says:

    To Me;
    I got a 2nd letter wanting further details 2 months after returning the court disposition wanting further details, within 15 days, about the charge & factors leading to the dismissal, both of which were clearly stated on the court document, in fact initials PTI appear 3 times, twice in big bold letters. Since all other records have been expunged, nothing else was available. I called & told somebody & was told to return some kind of reply explaining that, got their fax#(301-763-9667), & sent them a fax on April 11. I have received no reply since. You’re absolutely right, especially if the are using community service workers in Houston. I’d sure like to know what kind of felony her stepson committed.

  28. Wheeling_Mad Says:

    It is obvious that the Census likes to discriminate against a lot of people. I passed the test and was called to be a CL. When they found out about my disability they hit the brakes. I was told to not bother coming into training as they don’t accept those of us in chairs. I don’t feel the hiring system is inefficient in my case. They knew in advance that they didn’t want disabled people, and made sure that we didn’t get hired based on that alone. It was a little too efficient in my situation. I wonder how many people out there have a similar story. Just like anybody else I needed a job.

  29. Theresa in Florida Says:

    I attended training as an enumerator the end of April and began working out in the field on May 1. I have been doing my job, and have been told by my CL that I am doing an excellent job. However, this evening I received a phone call from my CL that I was to turn my badge and my work binder in to him no later than tomorrow morning. He said his supervisor informed him that there was an “issue with my paperwork.” My question was, “what issue?” All I got was double-talk from my CL. I have been working for almost 3 weeks and they NOW find an issue?? There can be absolutely nothing wrong with my background check as I have not even had a traffic ticket in over 20 years. I will do as requested and return my badge/binder in the morning, but I am feeling very discriminated against, especially since I cannot even get a definitive answer as to WHAT is wrong with my paperwork. Don’t I deserve a chance to correct whatever is wrong? I would love to become part of this class action lawsuit, so please contact me. By the way, I worked for the Census Bureau between 1988 and 1990 for the 1990 census and never had ANY issues.

  30. Jerry Carman Says:

    Here’s a story about fingerprint cards from the Anderson SC Census Office that were lost; http://www.greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2010305190035 These folks run a tight ship, don’t they?

  31. Arpad Golgoth Says:

    I scored 95 and they told me I have a match on the FBI DB. I have never been arreste in my life. I tried to join the class action suit and I sent the law firm a ton of supporting evidence. They called me the same day and the first question was “r u white?”. when I said Yes they told me I could not be part of the class action.

  32. Jerry Carman Says:

    Arpad;
    You cannot be excluded from this class action because you’re white. Don’t let anybody tell you that, because exclusion because of race is a violation of the civil rights act of 1964, & this would definitely be a violation of a Federal law, & the lawfirm could be subject to civil & criminal penalties. Can you name the person that told you this, he or she has no business telling you any such thing. If you filled out the questionaire on the website, there was a box that asked for your race. Did you indicate race when you filled out the questionaire?

  33. Jerry Carman Says:

    Arpad;
    Could you please tell us how you got in touich with the Outen & Golden lawfirm? You mentioned that you got a return phone call, but I took a 2nd look at the questionaire, & nowhere does it ask for a telephone no., but it does ask for an email address. By the way, the Civil Rights act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by public accomodations against anyone because of race, religion, gender, or ethnicity. This is covered by more than 1 article. Being caucasion or white is covered by both race & ethnicity, not that this wouldn’t be true of any other race or ethnic group. The Outen & Golden lawfirm can be considered a public accomodation since they are engaging in interstate commerce because they are handling a class action involving plantiffs in more than 1 state in a lawsuit filed in a Federal Court that is legally bound to uphold & enforce the Law of the Land. I counted 29 members on this lawfirm, not to mention that there is an assistant US attorney as 1 of many co-counsels on the case, & I fail to see that any 1 of these folks could think that it would help their case to do anything illegal. Could you please verify who told you that you can’t participate in this class action because U R white?

  34. M L Miller Says:

    What is the status of this case? I also applied for a census job, passed the test, but was told my very generic name was flagged the the FBI Criminal Index, and instructed to seek a local Sheriff’s office and pay for finger printing. Twom months prior I had and electronic finger print scan conducted on the state level – with nothing to report. To the best of my knowledge I have never been arrested or convicted or named in a crime. Is this just a money maker for local law enforcement?

  35. Jerry Carman Says:

    I’d like to know the status of the lawsuit myself. If you have to pay for a fingerprint check, yeah it is a moneymaker for somebody, but it’s much more likely that there were alot more applicants than available jobs with this census than the 2000 census becaose of the recession, & it’s just a lame excuse to arbitrarily exclude folks from being hired, & they couldn’t come up with a better way of doing it. Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if this lawsuit wins, & some folks that probably wouldn’t have been hired anyway get paid a settlement for all the weeks the work was going on? By the way, besides being common, ML Miller sounds alot more white to me than Arpad Golgoth.

  36. My Two Census » Blog Archive » Washington Post: Stricter hiring rules at the Census Bureau Says:

    [...] so this shouldn’t come as a major surprise. However, this action may further fuel the class action lawsuit against the Census Bureau. Here’s the latest from Ed O’Keefe and Carol Morello of The [...]

  37. Jerry Carman Says:

    If you equate further fueling the class action lawsuit to that of throwing gasoline on a fire, you could be absolutely right. What makes this likely is that the class action was filed before these incidents occured, in fact 2 weeks before the temporary eneumerators hit the streets on May 1st. This class action was a response to blanket exclusion of anybody that had an arrest & fingerprint record in the FBI database, no matter how minor or serious the violation, even if the charge didn’t lead to a conviction. Since this is thought to be just over 1/3 the population, in spite of the current bad economic situation, local offices could have had difficulty finding applicants that didn’t have some arrest & fingerprint record in their lives, & most of these folks with minor offenses were inelegeble for hire. This means that wheres, given the economic circumstances, they should certainly have had enough applicants by March 1st, plenty of time to settle any matter of offenses that were of no danger to the public from ones that were long before May 1st when the eneumerators hit the streets. This means that anybody that had any minor offense at anytime in their life that applied early in the testing & application, givien the background check practice, was likely excluded from being hired, even though he or she posed absolutely no risk to the public, & this was in large enough numbers, that it kept local offices from getting enough help, that the test & application seccessions continued until the end of April. Meanwhile, those with serious offenses, including sex crimes, learn of the situation from the internet & even word of mouth, & they know how to beat the system. Some even know how to obtain real looking fake drivers licenses & Social Security cards. Also, they waited until the very last test secession to apply, & since the local office was still in need of eneumerators, they managed to get into training, & even get into the field before anything bad showed up in the background check. This definitely means that the Census Bureau’s less-than-totally-intellegent practice of making it difficult for someone with any kind of arrest record at anytime in their lives, no matter how serious or long ago it was, actually contributed to the occurence of these incidents, one of which was an actual rape. Had this background matter been done in a responsible manner, sure there would have been some folks with long ago minor offenses on the streets doing a service to thier communities & earning an honest dollar. What would have been the harm with that? But, these 2 rapists would not have been on the streets as census takers, nor would a disabled woman have been raped. Clearly, the brainstorm of someone in the Census Bureau contributed to this occurence, & the Census Bureau should be held accountable. Thanks to the actions of Eugene Johnson & Evelyn Houser, that just might happen, & they should get all the help in the matter that they can get. Not only that, but the folks that were indiscriminately kept from census taker jobs that they should have had should receive compensation. Maybe that will result in a better system being used with the 2020 Census.

  38. Melissa in Alabama Says:

    I took the test, made a perfect score, have a college degree and will complete my MPA this summer. I agreed to work any shift, any day. Then I got the letter, which I think was because I was arrested after an ex accused me of harrassment. The ADA declined to prosecute when we showed up in court, probably because the entire set of evidence was a statement said angry ex signed, no supporting evidence at all. I didn’t serve probation and there wasn’t a trial at all. I asked the attorney who represented me at trial what “Official Court Record” meant and he said to get a certified copy of the docket sheet, which I did immediately. That was about two months ago and I haven’t heard anything. The census activity in my neighborhood came and went, so I suspect I missed the boat. I would like an official disposition, though.

  39. Roberto Says:

    How can it be that a person who gets arrested for trying to cash a US treasury check that does not belong to her, then go and sue the Gov’t on the basis of being unjustly treated? The Feds could have given her the maximum penalty of 10 years under the law but instead she got off easy.
    What about those applicants without any arrest or conviction record? Where the Census made their mistake is they should have demanded applicants to have no arrest record of any kind (if that is legal?). Leave it a liberal organization like Community Legal Services in Philadelphia to “defend” a criminal because she is a minority.

  40. Jerry Carman Says:

    Where did you get this information about he treasury check? The person was supposedly arrested for writing a bad check in 1981. That’s 29 years ago, & she’s had no other arrests since. She has since made restitution, & the charges were dropped. She worked with the 1990 census. A person can justifiably be kept from a job that requires going door if determined to be a threat to the public, but I don’t see that a person that wrote a bad check & made reststution 25 years ago & has done nothing bad since & is now 69 years would be any danger to the public, unless you know something I don’t know. As to whether or not it’s legal, we shall see. The fact that while thousands of others like her have been screwed out of jobs as census takers, 2 registered sex offenders managed to beat their system & get jobs as census takers, 1 of which rapes a disabled girl in a wheelchair, shows how well their system works, not to mention how it shows how intellegent the person is that though this brainstorm up.

  41. Kimberly Gilster Says:

    Hmm, I scored perfectly on the test and I am a veteran. I also got the letter informing me of an arrest. The only time I had ever been arrested was on trumped up charges that the D.A. saw through immediately. I did not have to appear in front of a judge because everything was dropped. It was a nightmare to me as I have been a law abiding citizen all of my life.

    I sent in all information that they could have possibly wanted. I even sent in a letter from the D.A.’s office stating that there was never a case, etc. I paid 80 dollars to get all the necessary paperwork together and 13 weeks later I have heard nothing from them. I have called every week since the 3rd week after submitting my paperwork. Every time I call I get the same old answer; “It’s taking longer to process because of all the applicants”.
    I’m definitely over qualified with two degrees but have been without work for a year because I am overqualified or under-qualified for most positions and I am Caucasian.

  42. Jerry Carman Says:

    Kimberly;
    I hate to have to tell you this, but, most, if not all, of the work that would be done by the temporary census workers is finished. In my area, it was finished about a week before Memorial Day weekend. Also, and I really hate this part, you probably wasted your 80 dollars, and what they were telling you when you called was a bunch of BS. They knew they weren’t going to hire you from the beginning, and I can prove that. The same happened with me. You likely applied early, right? All along, they were filing those that had arrest and fingerprint records away, while they kept having test secessions until the end of April. They hit the streets on May 1. Menawhile, 2 registered sex offenders learned how to beat their system by waiting until the last test and application secession in their areas, used aliases and phoney ducuments, and were hired and in the field before anything could come back on thier records, and 1 of these rapes a woman in a wheelchair. Just think, those 2 sex offenders got paid while they were in training, while you wasted your 80 dollars, and their system of screwing people that are of no danger to the public out of jobs, even though they have a long lost arrest record, works so well, that as a result, a disabled woman in a wheelchair gets raped. They sure got some folks with brains in DC, haven’t they?

  43. Jerry Carman Says:

    Today, I received a letter from the Dept. of Commerce, US Census Bureau, dated July 26, 2010. My guess is that anybody that looks ot this site got the same letter, wprd for word;
    Dear Applicant;
    You applied for a position as a temporary worker with the Census Bureau. We contacted you and requested you to provide a fingerprint card and information regarding any arrests in your background. We have received and reviewed the information you sent regarding your previous arrests ant the dispositions of these charges. However, based on the nature of the facts disclosed, we find you to be ineligeble for this temporary position.
    Sincerely,
    Census Hiring and Employment Check Staff
    Management and Systems Division
    U.S. Census Bureau
    How courageous of these folks to send such a letter, 2 months after all work requiring the use of census takers ended, & after the completion of all census work altogether. If ever there was a CYA letter, this is it. You’d think there might me a lawsuit or 2 out there.
    By the way, if you get such a letter, & want to call the Census Bureau, I was thinking the same thing, but their telephone hiring lines have been taken down. If you want to express your thoughts & opinions, I do have their fax line, & faxzero.com allows you to send 2 free faxes per day. The fax number for the hiring center is 301-763-9667. Please note that this is not a 24/7 fax line. It only function Monday thru Friday, 8:00 AM thru 5:00 Eastern Time, except Federal Holidays.

  44. Jerry Carman Says:

    Kimberly, if you see this, please let me know if you got the same letter. I think I’ve figured it out, & I’ll bet there’s a cozy relationship between somebody at the census bureau & the local DA’s office, & DA’s offices across the country have made big bucks off screwover people like you, as well as alot of unemployed people. What this means is that this whole thing was a scam, & the census bureau, at the very least, has comitted mail fraud.