Blacks suing Iowa over job policies to rest case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lawyers for African Americans who were passed over for state jobs and promotions are expected to rest their case in a class-action lawsuit accusing state government of discriminatory hiring practices.

Joe Ellis, a former state official responsible for equal employment opportunity and affirmative action programs, is expected to testify Tuesday at the Polk County Courthouse.

Lawyers representing 29 named class representatives and up to 6,000 members total are seeking tens of millions of dollars in lost wages from the state. After weeks of testimony, they plan to rest their case after questioning Ellis, who left state government in 2009.

Lawyers representing the state are defending against the broad discrimination allegations, saying the hiring and employment practices vary by department and position being sought.