Convicted felon's lawsuit challenges Pearland ISD's hiring policies

GALVESTON - A Fort Bend County man has filed suit against the Pearland Independent School District after it turned him down for a job because of a felony conviction. 

Recent court documents filed Oct. 16 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas show the 27-year-old drug conviction prompted PISD to decline Norris Rogers's application to work as a master electrician "though [he] met or exceeded all of the posted qualifications for the position."

According to Rodgers, PISD's practice of "blanket" disqualification of all individuals with past felony convictions from consideration for employment has a disparate impact on African Americans.

The suit explains that Rogers applied twice last year, stating he failed to disclose his criminal history on his first application which was submitted on Jan. 9, 2011.

Rogers asserts he has the accolades and qualifications required for the master electrician position including but not limited to a master electrician license, five years of experience in electrical trade and knowledge of electrical codes.

PISD apparently conducted a background check from which it discovered his 1984 convictions for possession of a controlled substance.

The school district moved to exclude him from consideration for employment because of the felonies and his failure to mention them on the applications, however, a letter dated Aug. 29, 2011, revealed that the defendant "only referred to [Rogers's] past criminal convictions as its reason for refusing to consider his August 2011 application," the original petition says.

It adds the respondent "does not have a consistent policy or practice of disqualifying applicants for employment solely based on their making false statements to the defendant about their past criminal convictions."

He consequently seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Rogers is representing himself.

Case No. 3:12-cv-302

More Stories