Gaston v. New Jersey, No. 08-1831 (3d Cir., October 30, 2008) – Plaintiff applied for a State Trooper position and was initially found to be qualified after a background check. Approximately eight months passed before a final hiring decision was made, and the State determined that a second investigation and background check was necessary. Following the subsequent investigation and background check, the State found Plaintiff to be unqualified for the position. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the State’s decision not to hire him was based on national origin discrimination.
On the State’s motion for summary judgment the court rejected Plaintiff’s claim, finding that the State presented evidence of legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for denying his application (i.e., omissions and misrepresentations on Plaintiff’s investigation questionnaire and poor character reviews by his own relatives and former employer). The court also noted that Plaintiff “may not solely rely on his own allegations” but is taxed with presenting evidence to rebut the State’s evidence “such as an affidavit… from any of the references” mentioned in the State’s report that it relied on in making the decision not to hire him.