Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Luevano Consent Decree

In 1979, a lawsuit was brought against OPM claiming that the Federal Government’s key entry-level employment test, PACE, resulted in adverse impact on AfricanAmerican and Hispanic applicants. The court approved the Luevano consent decree to settle the case. This settlement agreement called for OPM to develop valid alternative examinations that do not result in adverse impact for about 120 occupations at the GS-5 and GS-7 levels. In the meantime, the court created “temporary” hiring authorities for these positions. The newly created Outstanding Scholar and Bilingual/Bicultural hiring authorities were to be used when underrepresentation existed in the covered occupations and competitive examining did not result in a diverse applicant pool. The settlement agreement and additional hiring authorities still exist today and have introduced several problems related to the Federal Government’s ability to implement quality assessments in a timely manner.

Several agencies reported that provisions of the Luevano Consent Decree hamper their entry-level hiring (GS-5/7 equivalent), the level at which outside applicants are most commonly recruited for professional and administrative jobs. The decree requires agencies to use court-approved assessment procedures for over 100 entrylevel occupations. Generally, agencies are required to use the Administrative Careers with America (ACWA) self-rating schedule or the less-used ACWA written test for these occupations. Several agencies that depend on OPM to conduct these assessments found the process to be untimely and cumbersome. Moreover, the validity of the self-rating schedule as a predictor of future job performance is uncertain.

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