FDNY Hiring Practices Ruled Racially Discriminatory

Today, United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis granted summary judgment in favor of the Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of Black firefighters in the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), and three individual candidates, in a class action lawsuit charging the FDNY with racially discriminatory hiring practices.

From 1999 to 2007, the FDNY used written examinations to select more than 5,300 candidates for admission to the New York City Fire Academy. These examinations unfairly excluded hundreds of qualified people of color from the opportunity to serve as New York City firefighters.

In light of the overwhelming evidence, the Court found that New York City’s reliance on these examinations constitutes employment discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Judge Garaufis’s decision, dated July 22,
2009, he states that, “[f]rom 1999 to 2007, the New York City Fire Department used written examinations with discriminatory effects and little relationship to the job of a firefighter… [that] unfairly excluded hundreds of qualified people of color from the opportunity to serve as New York City firefighters. . . Today, the court holds that New York City’s reliance on these examinations constitutes employment discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”