In an employment discrimination lawsuit against the city of Chicago, a federal appeals court has asked a trial court to implement the hiring remedy stemming from a U.S. Supreme Court 9-to-0 decision that African American job candidates did not wait too long to sue the city for discrimination in hiring based on its poor handling of a 1995 firefighter entrance test.
"The city gave a test back in 1995 that did not measure the ability to be a firefighter," Joshua Karsh, the plaintiffs' attorney, told the Chicago Sun Times. "It made it more than six times more likely that white applicants would be hired rather than African Americans ... Nothing about getting a high score on that test predicted anything about whether you'd be a superior firefighter."
The city supposedly set up a cutoff score of 89 and randomly hired those who were among the top 1,800 "well-qualified" potential job hires when the results from the 1995 firefighter test proved to be disappointing for minority applicants.
But 78 percent of "well-qualified" candidates who were hired in the Chicago Fire Department were white, and a federal judge ruled in 2005 that the city's decision had a significant effect in continuing the primarily white status quo.
Under the new federal appeals court decision, the Chicago Fire Department will have to hire 111 black firefighter applicants who were overlooked and allocate "tens of millions of dollars" in damages to the 6,000 other job candidates who will not get a second opportunity for employment.
Karsh said the decision also means the city must adjust the African-American firefighters' pensions to make them reflect as though they had been working with the fire department since 1995.
For more general information on discrimination in hiring or other cases of employment discrimination, visit the Related Resources links below.
- Talk To A Chicago Employment Lawyer (FindLaw)
- Court of Appeals Victory in Chicago Firefighter Discrimination Case (PR Newswire)
- Discrimination Rules for Hiring Employees (FindLaw)
- U.S. Labor Dept. Alleges Bias Against Women At Tyson Plant (FindLaw's Chicago Employment Law Blog)