Fire department racial bias settlement, part 1: back pay
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has been under close scrutiny in recent years for its overly aggressive stop-and-frisk policing. A federal court ruled last year that these intense police tactics crossed the line into unconstitutional racial profiling.
But the NYPD isn’t the only New York agency that has been accused of racial discrimination.
In this two-part post, we will take note of a settlement that has been reached in a racial discrimination lawsuit against the New York City Fire Department
The legal proceedings in the case began in 2007 with a racial bias complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ charged that the fire department discriminated against firefighter applicants who were black and Hispanic.
An organization advocating for black firefighters called the Vulcan Society soon intervened as a party in the case.
A trial had been scheduled for March 31. But today Vulcan Society representatives announced a settlement between the parties.
The settlement includes $98 million in back pay and benefits to people who submitted claim forms asserting discrimination and were already deemed to be eligible for financial recovery by a federal court.
The settlement also requires the fire department to appoint as many as 293 claimants as priority hires, as long as they have met all the hiring steps required of other candidates.
The case centered on improper entrance exams that were used to screen out minority candidates. We will discuss the settlement terms further in part two of this post.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “NYC Settles Fire Department Bias Case,” March 18, 2014