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The memo's goal is to improve the efficiency of the Fire Department's hiring procedure. This is a result of the fire department's unequal employment chances. Workers of a single race and gender have controlled it. Minority applicants have submitted multiple applications, but have not been hired. This demonstrates that the fire department intentionally treats minorities unfairly and denies them employment opportunities (Panter, Panter, Primiani, Hasan & Pontaza, 2017).


The first issue to address will be the process of publicly advertising for application opportunities in a fair and balanced manner. The method of word of mouth that is currently used is discriminative and does not achieve the intended objectives. Also, there is need of an overhaul of the mode of interviewing in terms of the tests to be administered to the applicants. The tests seem to be in favor of a single group. The physical tests should also be different for men and women.

The HR department has reasons to believe there is discrimination in hiring of minorities such as Blacks and Hispanics. The process of selection for those who qualify for the tests seems to be flawed. Finally, the issue to be addressed in this memo is the new design to be implemented in the recruitment process.

Analysis of the case

The past recruitment process in the fire department clearly shows disparate treatment for minorities. The lack of a system of public advertising of employment opportunities has disenfranchised many potential recruits who may be even more qualified. The use of word of mouth shows nepotism and favoritism in inviting applicants.

The mode of examination such as essay-based questions is not the standard way of testing the capability of the applicants. This is because this mode has given undue advantage to some candidates who their relatives work in the department currently. Some of them may have an added advantage by accessing the papers from the relatives who work in the department. Therefore, the methods provide unfair competition for the recruits.

In spite of the testing process being unfair, the selection process has equally been biased. The 10% of the minorities who have passed the test does not appear in the hiring list. This is evidence of disparate impact in the hiring process.

All these practices can be challenged under the disparate impact law for being discriminatory towards minorities (Pacelle, Curry & Marshall, 2011). There is a no neutrality in the entire process, beginning from the mode of advertising, the administration of tests and even the selection process. The advertising process is not neutral because it is not done publicly. The essay-based test questions are appropriate for measuring writing skills rather than the capability of potential firefighters. Finally, the 10% of minorities who pass the test are not even included in the hiring list which is evidence of disparate treatment.

In order to strengthen controls and eliminate discrimination, the HR department recommends a new design of the recruitment process. We believe the new process will seal the current loopholes that exist and bring about equality and fairness.

Recommended changes

The mode of advertisement of opportunities should be made public through the media. The vacant opportunities should be put in newspapers, radios, and television. This will make the distribution of information fair. Many qualified people are likely to be informed and apply for the vacant positions. Use of media is a fair way of advertising for the vacant positions because it spreads information to the public an indiscriminate manner.

The mode of test should be changed from essay-based to aptitude test. Aptitude test is the best measure of a person’s intelligence and good judgment. The performance of the essay based method depends on the writing skills of the applicant rather than fitness for the job. The aptitude test is important to identify the soft and professional skills required for the job.

During the test, there should be maximum supervision to reduce the chances of irregularities. The CCTV surveillance should be planted in all the exam rooms to detect those who may try to cheat in the test. The CCTV cameras will also detect any form of suspicious communication between the recruits and the current workers. This will ensure no recruit access the contents of the test before attempting.

The committee in charge of reviewing the applications should be vetted for integrity and qualifications. Any member of the committee found to have been involved in discriminatory hiring practices should be excluded. Also, members who have a conflict of interest by having a relationship with any of the applicants should compulsorily step down from the committee.

If the results do not meet the desired outcome as per the 80% rule, the fire commission should reevaluate the test results to establish that disparate impact was not intentional (Clements, Spinks & Clements, 2006). This can be through investigating whether the recruitment process is neutral. The commissions should further investigate whether the recruitment process has disproportionate adverse effects on minorities. If the fire commission is satisfied that the recruitment process was free and fair, they should go ahead and certify the results.

If this new hiring campaign does not achieve the desired outcome, the fire department should consider having affirmative action by reserving some positions for women and minorities. For instance, the test result should be grouped for each category of applicants, that is men and female, Whites Blacks and Hispanics. The top performers for each category should be picked into the various positions.

The issue of gender equality should be emphasized in the recruitment process. Men and women should have different physical tests. Taking women and men through the similar physical test is unfair to women because of different biological structure of the body. For instance, if a physical test involves weight lifting, it will be biased to women since it depends on the strength of the upper body. The advertisement should be gender sensitive to both women and men. The adverts should specify that equal opportunities are to be offered to both men and women. More women will be encouraged to apply for the vacant positions (Appleby, 2008).


The fire commission needs to implement our recommendations to achieve their desired rate of employment of minorities of above 35%. Fair practices must be implemented in the entire process, starting from advertising, administering of tests and selection to the hiring list. Failure to adhere to this will lead to disparate treatment on the basis of race and gender (Panter, Panter, Primiani, Hasan & Pontaza, 2017). We believe that recruitment of competent personnel is the first stage in ensuring the success of the fire department.

Yours faithfully,

The HR director, City Fire Department


Appleby, G. (2008). Harassment and discrimination. [Irvine, Calif.]: Entrepreneur Media.

Clements, P., Spinks, T., & Clements, P. (2006). The equal opportunities handbook. London: Kogan Page.

Pacelle, R., Curry, B., & Marshall, B. (2011). Decision Making by the Modern Supreme Court. Leiden: Cambridge University Press.

Panter, E., Panter, E., Primiani, T., Hasan, T., & Pontaza, E. (2017). Antidiscrimination Law and Shared Prosperity An Analysis of the Legal Framework of Six Economies and Their Impact on the Equality of Opportunities of Ethnic, Religious, and Sexual Minorities. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

Réaume, D. (2001). Harm and Fault in Discrimination Law: The Transition from Intentional to Adverse Effect Discrimination. Theoretical Inquiries In Law, 2(1).

February 01, 2023

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