Local News in Brief : Discrimination Finding

The Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission has unanimously upheld a hearing officer's findings that a Latino deputy marshal was discriminated against in his bid for promotion to sergeant.

The five-member commission agreed Wednesday that Ronald Rocha, a 20-year veteran of the Marshal's Department, was the victim of racial bias when he was passed over for promotion four times last year. In siding with Rocha, the panel awarded him back pay to May, 1987, or about $10,000. The 43-year-old Rocha was eventually promoted to sergeant last February, four months after he filed a discrimination complaint against the department.

Departmental officials, contesting the discrimination charge, also denied that Rocha's promotion stemmed from his complaint. But the commission upheld hearing officer Mark Burstein, who concluded that the Marshal's Department had "demonstrated a history of failing to promote or appoint . . . Hispanics and that the mechanism used to make the selections for sergeant was fraught with subjectivity."

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