Federal Appeals Court Rules that Psychological Examinations for Applicants for Law Enforcement Officer Positions Cannot Be Used to Discriminate Against Qualified Applicants
A Federal Appeals Court’s recent precedential decision in the case of Gibbs v. City of Pittsburgh may have profound implications for New Jersey civil service appeals from psychological disqualification of law enforcement officer applicants.
Christopher Gibbs applied to be a police officer with the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Police Department. He was an honorably discharged Marine and had been accepted for employment with five other law enforcement agencies. Similar to the practice in New Jersey and as required by Pennsylvania state law, after he was found otherwise qualified Pittsburgh offered Gibbs an offer of employment conditioned upon passing an examination to determine whether he was psychologically fit for the job. Gibbs had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”). The examining doctor found him unfit because of his ADHD. The psychologists conducting the examination ignored the fact that Gibbs’s ADHD was under control, that five other departments had found him psychologically fit, that he had unblemished records as a police officer and a Marine, and they never explained how Gibbs’s ADHD would interfere with his ability to perform his duties as a police officer.