You’ve got to be shitting me…

Robert Jordan wanted to become a police officer. He applied to the New London, Connecticut police force. They administered an I.Q. test to Mr. Jordan. Based on the score of his I.Q. test, the police force denied his application. So far, so good, right? The problem being that he didn’t score too low. He scored too high. Yes, you heard me correctly. He’s too smart to be a cop (despite wanting to be one).

Mr. Jordan filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination. The court ruled that the police force is within their rights to only accept stupid people so long as the test is applied equally to all races and genders. I can accept that it isn’t discrimination under the guidelines of current law, but… WTF?!? What possible reason could the city have for refusing to let smart people be cops?

footnote: It’s curious that this comes out in the July 20 NYT with a small note under the headline that says “published September 9, 1999”. Slow news day?

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  • Maggie  On October 7, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Interestingly enough, we’re studying this in my HRM class in our recent discussions about the selection process. The New London police department decided they would “slim down” their pool of applicants to scores between 20 and 27, and Mr. Jordan scored 33.

    The factor of being “too intelligent” for a job does sound ridiculous but the police department narrowed their standards of intelligence for applicants on the basis of keeping those they hired. What I mean is, there has been research done that shows correlation between high intelligence levels (over the demand for the occupation) and boredom and therefore career/job change. The high turnover costs associated with hiring “too intelligent people” sounds like a ridiculous claim (I think it is, personally) but the city of New London used this parameter as a way of screening out applications of individuals like Robert Jordan who may be hired and leave the job sooner than a “less intellingent” applicant/hire.

    I agree with you that it’s crazy, but the courts ruled based on the equity of New London’s BFOQ’s (Bona Fide Occupational Qualification) which was “scores between 20-27.”

  • wolfger  On October 7, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks, Maggie. Makes slightly more sense now. Slightly. What’s HRM?

  • Maggie  On October 28, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    Human Resources Management … sorry I don’t check the site often so I just saw your question!

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