Originally published on Advocate.com September 26 2003 12:00 AM ET
Jurors in Santa Barbara, Calif., decided a gay city employee wasn't passed over for promotion because he is gay. Brad Edwards, who worked in the city's Public Works Department, filed a job discrimination suit against the city, but the jury ruled 9-3 on Tuesday that there was no antigay discrimination.
Afterward, however, jurors criticized city hiring practices. "The city really needs to clean up their act," juror Nancy Anderson said. "All of us felt the city's hiring practices were very shoddy.... But there was
no discrimination due to his sexual orientation." The jurors' main complaint was that city officials had selected a candidate before they even interviewed Edwards for the position of solid waste specialist.
City officials maintain that jurors didn't understand the difference between recruitment and preselection. But jurors said they fully comprehend the difference and that city officials knew who they were going to hire before recruitment began. An independent interview board ranked Edwards, 31, first among eight qualified applicants. Officials said, however, that board ranking was just one of the many elements used in hiring.
"I'm disappointed with the jury's decision, but, hopefully, it's a wake-up call for the city," Edwards said. "Going through the trial will have been worth it if the jurors' comments show the city that things are not right."