The city’s fire department has engaged in “intentional discrimination” against black applicants for at least 40 years, federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled yesterday in Brooklyn.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a class action lawsuit in 2007 accusing the FDNY of having intentionally racially discriminatory hiring.
Last year, Garaufis ruled the department’s written exams used since 1999 unfairly excluded hundreds of qualified black applicants. Yesterday, he went further, ruling there had been a “pattern and practice of intentional discrimination against blacks” since the 1960s.
Blacks make up about one quarter of the city’s population. In 2007, black firefighters accounted for under 4 percent or 303 of the city’s 8,998 firefighters.
Georgia Pestana, a lawyer for the city, said New York “vehemently” disagrees with the ruling but cannot appeal until a final judgment is entered.
Pestana said in a statement “there is simply no evidence that the city ever intended to discriminate against black applicants.”
A court hearing on the matter will outline the remedy. No date for the hearing has been set.