Roughly 25% of New York City residents are African American, but for decades the FDNY’s firefighting force was only around 3% black.
Levy Ratner began investigating this disparity and learned that the City’s hiring process was systematically excluding black firefighter candidates who were well qualified to serve their City.
Our clients – a group of black firefighters and firefighter applicants – believed that the City’s hiring tests were racially biased. We decided to bring a class action race discrimination suit in federal court on behalf of hundreds of victims.
The result was a resounding victory.
As a result of this litigation:
- 83 African American victims of discrimination were hired as New York City firefighters.
- $82 million dollars in pre-mitigation back pay was awarded to black applicants.
- The FDNY was directed to put in place an entirely new test for firefighter candidates.
- It has agreed to focus recruitment efforts on underrepresented groups, as well as make changes to its medical and criminal background screening to avoid adverse impact on black candidates, among other major reforms.
Counsel has provided exceptional representation throughout this litigation” in a case that “has required extraordinary effort and skill.”Judge Nicholas Garaufis, in a ruling for Levy Ratner’s clients