Job discrimination at NY Fire Department
Caribbean nationals to benefit from multimillion-dollar settlement
WASHINGTON, DC, USA (CMC) — The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) says it has reached an agreement, in principle, with the city of New York and intervening plaintiffs, to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit involving the New York City Fire Department over its discriminatory hiring practices for Caribbean nationals and other minorities.
Under the agreement, the DOJ said the city of New York will pay an estimated US$98 million to resolve allegations that the fire department "engaged in a pattern or practice of employment discrimination" against African-American and Hispanic applicants, including Caribbean nationals, for the entry-level firefighter position by using two discriminatory written tests in 1999 and 2002.
The DOJ said the parties' agreement will be incorporated into a consent decree that is subject to a fairness hearing and must be approved by the district court.
"This resolution will help ensure that those who seek to serve as firefighters in New York City have an equal opportunity to do so, regardless of their race," said Associate Attorney General Tony West.
"The agreement we are announcing today, which is the result of the collective efforts of the Justice Department, the private plaintiffs, and the city of New York, not only will compensate victims of discriminatory hiring practices, it will also put in place an entry-level hiring process that should more accurately identify firefighter candidates who are best qualified to do the job," he added.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division said the agreement will provide "significant and long-awaited relief" to minority applicants for employment with the fire department who were harmed by its discriminatory hiring practices.
"We applaud the city of New York and Mayor de Blasio for their efforts to bring this important matter to a resolution," she said.