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Discriminatory Hiring Practices in Fire Departments Across US

9:21 AM, Apr 24, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the City of Jacksonville for alleged discriminatory hiring practices.

But this isn't the first time race has been at the center of a lawsuit in fire departments across the United States.

SEE ALSO: Dept. of Justice Sues City, JFRD for Discrimination

The City of Chicago just hired 111 black firefighters after losing a discrimination lawsuit filed in 1995.

The suit says those firefighters passed the entrance exam more than 10 years ago, but didn't score high enough to be hired.

The Chicago Fire Department set the cut-off rate for the test at 89%, but 78% of candidates who scored that high were white.

Adding in backpay and retirement benefits for black firefighters who were not promoted, the city could end up on the hook for $50 million dollars.

A lawsuit settled in Houston last year played out similarly.

Seven black firefighters won a judgment against their fire department after passing a written exam, but not scoring high enough to be promoted.

The lawsuit alleged that white firefighters who passed the exam were promoted at twice the rate as black firefighters who passed.

The city will pay out more than $300,000 to those officers, after a court found the test was racially-biased.

But the script flips in New Haven, Conn., where 20 white firefighters claimed reverse discrimination.

That lawsuit says a written exam was given in 2004, but when no black firefighters scored high enough to be promoted, the city decided to throw out the exam all together and promote no one.

The Supreme Court heard that case and decided that by using raw racial data, New Haven broke the law.

The City agreed to pay $2 million dollars to the white firefighters involved in that lawsuit.

First Coast News

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