Levy Ratner and co-counsel Center for Constitutional Rights have reached a settlement with the City of New York and the United States in U.S. and Vulcan Society, et al. v. City of New York, et al., a case challenging race discrimination in the hiring of black firefighter applicants. In addition to broad injunctive relief ordered by the court, which included a new firefighter entrance exam and the appointment of a monitor to oversee all steps in the firefighter recruiting and hiring process, the settlement provides for new diversity initiatives in the department, specific recruiting goals and other relief that is critical to breaking down barriers to black participation in the FDNY. The department will create an executive staff position of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer who will report to the Fire Commissioner, and the CDIO will in turn appoint a full-time Diversity Advocate from the uniformed force.
A class of black and Latino firefighter applicants, which includes some current FDNY incumbents, will be eligible to receive back pay totaling $98 million, which includes more than $6 million for lost medical benefits, and certain claimants will have an opportunity to prove additional compensatory damages. The settlement must be approved by the Court before any awards are distributed.