The City of New Haven CT. did not act reasonably in rejecting the test results used for determining eligibility of city fire fighters for promotion. I base my opinion on the fact that they developed, evaluated, and put in place a testing system to determine eligibility for promotion that they believed to be fair and ethical prior to the results. The City also ensured fairness in determining who in the fire department was eligible to take the test, ensuring there wasn’t any sort of gate keeping. New Haven gave all eligible fire fighters the same opportunities to prepare for the exams and the exams were administered in a consistent and standard manner. Because of these factors, they should have accepted the test results, promoted those fire fighters who met the department standards and faced any sort of lawsuit with a clean conscience.
The City of New Haven contracted with Industrial /Organizational Solutions to design the written and oral examinations used. I/O Solutions is a human resources consulting firm that specializes in personnel selection. They develop, validate and implement entry-level and promotional tests and assessments. The use of this firm to develop the examinations shows that the City was concerned with utilizing an exam that was free from with bias and so the fire department could obtain a fair result from the exams. By choosing to use this firm, they ensured that the test was fair and therefore a useful tool in the promotions process in the fire department.
I/O Solutions wrote the test using nationally recognized and available texts and the fire department’s own standard operating procedures and rules and regulations. The material covered in the exam was oriented toward fire department operations and basic managerial questions. It is reasonable to evaluate candidates on these topics to determine who is best qualified for promotion. The exams were focused on topics that put all eligible fire fighters on equal footing.