Illinois DNR hires disproportionate number of African-Americans for upper level positions, suit says

Andrea Dearden Nov. 18, 2010, 5:47am

An Edwardsville man is suing the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, claiming the agency refused to promote him because of his ethnicity.

Carl Gamble filed the discrimination suit against the agency on Nov. 3 in Madison County Circuit Court. He argues the Department of Natural Resources violated his human rights by failing to promote him to sergeant, despite being the most qualified candidate.

Gamble, who is African-American, has been working for the DNR since 1985 and has been a second-level Conservation Police Officer since 1990.

In January 2009, Gamble says he applied for the position of sergeant in his district. Gamble says he interviewed for the job in April and was later informed, by letter, that he was not chosen for the position. Gamble claims he was told the job went to a Caucasian candidate who only had eight years of experience, with a lower level of responsibility.

Gamble contends the position was filled based only on a standardized employment questionnaire and not on actual qualifications, training or experience.

Gamble also bases his argument on what he calls a disproportionate number of African-American officers holding higher positions within the Department, compared to the number of Caucasian officers. He says fewer than 1 percent of black employees hold command positions versus almost 15 percent of Caucasian officers who have been promoted to those jobs.

Gamble is asking to be promoted to sergeant and be compensated an unspecified amount for damages and court costs.

Attorneys Joel A. D'Alba and Margaret Angelucci of Chicago are representing Gamble. They ask for a jury trial.

Madison County Circuit Court case No. 10-L-1127

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