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Fire Department of New York facing discrimination claims, again

Fire departments provide an invaluable service to communities. The men and women who serve in New York fire departments provide more than just firefighting skills, and often respond to devastating car accidents and other emergency situations. It is important for these departments to hire and promote the most-qualified civilian and EMS workers to support firefighters, but one department apparently has a problem doing so.

Three years ago, the Fire Department of New York -- the FDNY -- was accused of hiring discrimination. New York City paid $98 million in settlements to affected victims. Now, the FDNY is facing another suit that claims the department still engages in ingrained and ongoing discrimination against its black employees, especially those who are employed as civilians or as EMS workers. These workers claim that the 2014 settlement did not change how the FDNY treats its black employees.

The current lawsuit claims that these employees are purposely kept in low positions, are paid lower wages than their white counterparts and face extreme barriers when they try to move up. One of the victims was hired in 1989 as a technical specialist. Although she has a computer science degree and a Master's in management, she has not been promoted in her nearly 30 years of employment.

Many people who work in the fire department industry truly love what they do, which can make workplace harassment and discrimination even more devastating. To make matters worse, their complaints often go unheard or ignored. Suits filed against their employers are often the best option New York discrimination victims have for implementing real changes, and any resulting compensation from such actions can usually be applied to lost wages and other damages.

Source: New York Post, "FDNY sued for discrimination -- again", Kaja Whitehouse, Dec. 4, 2017

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