An official in the state agency that handles personnel issues is promising a thorough review of all state government hiring practices. That promise was delivered directly to the Legislature’s Oversight Committee on Tuesday by Nancy Berggren, a human resources officer in the Department of Administrative Services. Her comments follow allegations of bias in the hiring and promotion practices within the state Workforce Development agency.
“We have personnel…who are…visiting with all the departments, reviewing some of their hiring practices to make sure that there aren’t some places where we need to make some changes,” she told legislators. On Monday, three black women told lawmakers they’d been denied promotions within the Iowa Workforce Development agency because of their race.
Berggren says the Department of Administrative Services warned the Iowa Workforce Development agency to stop using a controversial, pre-employment test three years before Iowa Workforce Development finally quit using it. The pre-employment video exam has come under fire for having a bias against black job applicants.
Berggren says she doesn’t know who bought the test, or when Iowa Workforce Development began using it. “The first time that our department became aware of it, around in about 2000, we had told them that it would be best not to use it,” Berggren says. The Iowa Workforce Development agency continue to use the test until 2003. Berggren testified Tuesday before the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee which is investigating claims of racial discriminating in state government hiring practices.