JULY 12, 2012
The Clinton-appointed federal judge who referred to a city fire department as a “stubborn bastion of white male privilege” has ordered it to give minority applicants who failed “discriminatory” tests priority hiring and retroactive seniority.
That’s in addition to a previous damages award of $128 million for the black and Latino candidates who couldn’t pass a mandatory test to join the New York City Fire Department. Last year the same federal judge, Nicholas Garaufis, asserted the city’s fire department was “a stubborn bastion of white male privilege,” kept intact by six mayors, particularly Michael Bloomberg who ironically is a liberal Democrat.
In a ruling published by a law journal this week, Judge Garaufis says any black or Latino who was not hired or whose hiring was delayed because of the tests can seek compensation. He also orders that at least two out of five entry-level firefighters hired by the city must be black and one out of every five be Hispanic. This is expected to cost taxpayers a chunk of change because hundreds of minority applicants qualify for the reparation.
In fact, the ruling includes a chart with a breakdown of the black and Hispanic claimants who would have been hired (or hired earlier) in the “absence of discrimination.” The information is broken down to reflect two separate exams and the corresponding compensation amount. The court estimates that blacks missed out on more than $80 million and Hispanics around $46 million.
The Obama Administration is committed to eliminating the workplace tests all together, asserting that they discriminate against minorities. The Department of Justice (DOJ) calls it “disparate impact,” the racial discrimination created by written exams, which is especially rampant in the nation’s police and fire departments, according to Thomas Perez, the Assistant Attorney General appointed by the president to head the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division.
The theory is that the tests disproportionately screen out people of a particular race, even though they “present the appearance of objective, merit-based selection.” Not only is this discriminatory, according to Perez, employers sell themselves short when they exclude potential workers in this manner. As an example the former Maryland Labor Secretary, who has long fought for the rights of illegal immigrants, said that members of a baseball team should not be chosen by testing their knowledge of baseball history and statistics.
Last year Perez guaranteed that the DOJ will continue to “combat such discrimination so that our nation can fulfill its greatest promise of equal opportunity and equal justice for all.” Previous to that he sued anArizona public college system for discrimination because it requires job applicants to furnish proof of residency before getting hired.
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