A Brooklyn court has extended an injunction preventing New York City from hiring new firefighters because existing hiring tests discriminate against minorities. The court proposed five alternative hiring plans that would bypass continued use of tests, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg claims all five require the city to use illegal quotas.
Currently, the FDNY is 89% white. A black firefighters group—the Vulcan Society—and the federal government sued the department in 2007. Judge Nicholas Garaufis ruled in January that the city had engaged in a pattern of discrimination that goes back decades.
As a remedy, Garaufis offered the city the option of using test results from 2008, with the stipulation that the hiring pool and the new class of firefighters had to match the racial makeup of the applicants who took the test—60.7% white, 18.4% Hispanic and 17.4% black.
Note: If the city follows the de facto quotas the judge suggested, it could face more litigation from workers who lost jobs to lower-scoring applicants who got jobs solely because of their race.