Minority FDNY Firefighters Could Receive More Than $128 Million

Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis says another hearing will determine amount owed to Blacks and Latinos by the city of New York.

Posted: 03/12/2012 06:09 PM EDT

Blacks and Latinos affected by discrimination in New York City’s firefighter entrance exams lawsuit could receive more than $128 million in back wages, according to a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis recently said that a hearing would have to be held to determine how much each individual claimant would receive, but the number could exceed $100 million.

In New York City more than half of the eight million residents belong to a racial or ethnic minority. Only nine percent of the 11,200 uniformed firefighters, however, are Black or Hispanic.

In an effort to increase diversity in the workforce, Garaufis ruled that an independent monitor must be appointed to oversee fair hiring in the New York Fire Department in October. Just two years prior, in 2009, Garaufis ruled that the firefighter hiring test was discriminatory and that it was being used to intentionally discriminate against Black and Hispanic applicants.

City lawyers say the opinion is “erroneous” and that the city will owe far less than $128 million.

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