A former part-time office with the Harmony Township Police Department is alleging he was passed over for a full-time position with the town because of his ethnicity. The officer also alleges the town violated civil service laws last year during the hiring process to fill a full-time position in the department.
Officer Sokheng “Jason” Seng resigned from the Harmony Township Police Department last September after the town hired a man from outside of the department to fill the open spot.
Seng subsequently filed a charge of discrimination against Harmony Township with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Officer Seng alleges he was frequently harassed due to his race during his time employed with Harmony Township.
“During the time I worked at the department it was stated to me by officers the reason why there were less strays in the area was because of me,” wrote Seng in a report obtained by the Beaver Countian. “That comment implied I had eaten most of the dogs and cats. I went along with the jokes about my race because I wanted the full-time position.”
Jason Seng has also alleged the town violated Pennsylvania Civil Service laws by misapplying veteran’s preference points to help officers pass a written examination.
“The written examination was given by the Civil Service Commission of Harmony Township for the positions of full-time officers. Before the test was given, Chief Essek stood in front of the room and announced that veteran points would be added after the oral interviews. Essek stated that test score would need to be a 70 percent or higher to pass,” wrote Officer Seng in the report. “Essek stated that 10 percent of the veteran’s overall score would be added to the veteran’s score. Essek made it clear that the veterans who failed would not have their veteran points added to their score.”
Officer Seng alleges the town didn’t follow its own Civil Service procedures.
“Each veteran was given 10 percent of their test score after the written examination,” wrote Seng. “Civil service regulation states that veteran points are added to the final score of both the oral interview and the written test. On the list was Alan Loskosh, who is a veteran. Loskosh had a score of 75, which meant that his score before the veteran points were added was a 68.”
Ultimately, Officer Seng alleges he was told he was not hired because he did poorly during the oral examination portion of the civil service test compared to applicant Brian Brooks, who was not employed with the department at the time. Harmony Township hired Brooks as a full-time officer, and Seng alleges he was told Alan Loskosh would be chosen for a second full-time position that was expected to be filled at a later date.
Seng’s name was in the top 3 of the eligibility list with Loskosh’s name in the fourth spot.
Officer Seng resigned from the department after learning he would not be hired as a full-time officer.
Seng reported to the EEOC that he was originally hired by Chief Jack Lively who retired before the full-time position became available. “Since Essek became Chief the position that I was more qualified for is now going to a less qualified individual,” wrote Officer Seng.
Officials with Harmony Township have filed statements with the EEOC denying Seng was passed over due to his ethnicity. The town insists the officer wasn’t hired full-time primarily because he did poorly on his oral interview.
Officer Seng had been working part-time for Harmony Township for approximately a year and a half.
Courthouse sources tell the Beaver Countian that Officer Seng has also approached attorneys in the area about the possibility of taking legal action against Harmony Township for their alleged violation of civil service procedures.