Fire department racial bias settlement, part 2: legal protections
In the first part of this post, we noted that the New York City Fire Department has agreed to a substantial settlement in a racial bias case brought by minority firefighter applicants.
As we discussed, the settlement will mean a payout of $98 million in back pay and benefits by the department. The money will go to numerous black and Hispanic applicants who were denied positions or whose hiring was delayed because of racial discrimination.
The settlement also includes other terms, however, and it is to those that we now turn in this part of the post.
In addition to the back pay and benefits, the settlement calls for the Fire Department to create two news positions to promote property diversity within the department. One such position will be a court-ordered monitor reporting directly to the fire chief on diversity issues. The other is a diversity advocate who will be responsible for monitoring hiring and new-recruit training practices.
The settlement also includes a commitment by the Fire Department to make that there is a proper proportion between the pool of firefighter exam-takers and the overall racial composition of the New York City labor market. As noted in a New York Times report, this means there will be more recruiters seeking out black and Hispanic applicants.
There will also be changes under the settlement to the entrance exam itself. The goal is to make it free of racial bias.
Overall, the settlement we’ve been discussing is an important reminder that employment law provides key protections against racial discrimination in the workplace. Indeed, these protections do not only apply to racial discrimination; they also extend to discrimination based on national origin.
This is especially important to realize in New York City, where there are so many people who are members of racial minority groups and so many people who come from other countries.
Source: To learn more about available legal protections, please visit our page on racial discrimination.