Scott + Scott Fights Discrimination
Scott + Scott was recently retained along with the law firm of Levy Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights to represent the Vulcan Society in their lawsuit against the City of New York. The Vulcan Society is an organization of African-American firefighters that serves as the primary voice challenging discrimination in hiring and at the workplace against minority firefighters within the New York City Fire Department (“FDNY”). Vulcan currently strives to end the pervasive employment discrimination at the FDNY by acting as liaison between the minority community and FDNY leadership, holding youth programs and practicing community outreach.
In the lawsuit, Vulcan alleges that FDNY violated, and continues to violate, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in addition to other state and federal laws, through the department’s use of an entrance examination which unfairly discriminates against minorities and leads to an homogeneous and under-diversified firefighting force. The Vulcan Society is asking the courts to force FDNY to change its hiring practices to eliminate the discrimination that has existed within the Department for decades. The lawsuit explicitly outlines how the results of entrance tests administered in 1999 and 2002 show that minorities underperform in a statistically significant way as a direct result of the way the test is constructed. For example, in 1999, only 8.4% of all African-American applicants scored in the top 20% of all applicants who took the test. At the same time, 34.2% of all African-American applicants scored in the bottom 20 percent. In 2002, the contrast was even starker; 6.0% of all African-American applicants scored in the top 20%, while 45.9% finished in the bottom 20 percent. According to experts, in a racially neutral test, one would expect the numbers to be 20% and 20%, respectively. Scott + Scott continues to work with the Vulcan Society, Levy Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights in representing a class of firefighters and prospective firefighters who have suffered discrimination at the hands of the FDNY. To this end, depositions have been taken by Scott + Scott in conjunction with the United States Department of Justice.
Scott + Scott is preparing for a trial with the aim of eliminating discrimination at FDNY, instituting a new, fair entrance exam, and compensating discrimination victims.