FDNY Settles Unlawful Gender Discrimination Lawsuit for $1.25 Million

994487_fireman_hat sxchu username harper07.jpgThe Fire Department of New York (FDNY) has reportedly settled a sex discrimination lawsuit that was filed against the organization by five former and current female emergency medical service (EMS) workers in 2006. According to the women, systemic gender discrimination prevented them from being promoted to higher levels within the EMS despite positive work evaluations. As part of the settlement, the City of New York agreed to pay the women a combined total of $1.06 million in back pay and $261,000 in damages. Additional financial adjustments will also be made to the women’s individual pension plans.

Currently, FDNY promotions up to the lieutenant level are determined using a Civil Service Examination. All higher level appointments, however, are apparently discretionary. According to the lawsuit, only 16 percent of the 400 captains and lieutenants employed in the EMS are women despite that 947 of the 2,500 FDNY EMS workers are female. As part of the settlement agreement, the FDNY agreed to change its hiring practices and work to encourage more women to apply for high level positions within the organization. In addition, the women who suffered gender discrimination also agreed to retire from EMS.

Employers in New York, New Jersey, and the rest of the nation are not legally required to treat all of their employees fairly. For example, it is not always unlawful if an employer engages in favoritism, nepotism, or “office politics.” A worker who is unfairly treated may only seek legal action where the discrimination was a result of his or her age, gender, race, pregnancy status, mental or physical disability, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, or another legally protected status.

As this situation proves, some women experience difficulty with being promoted at work due to gender discrimination. This type of unlawful discrimination often results in decreased responsibility, influence, and pay regardless of a female worker’s qualifications or experience. Although either sex is capable of engaging in gender discrimination, most cases occur when someone in power expresses a preference for members of his or her own gender. Still, individuals may choose to discriminate against co-workers who are the same gender. Regardless of who is being discriminated against, all sex discrimination is illegal.

The caring employment attorneys at the Resnick Law Group represent current and former workers in legal matters that involve gender discrimination, family or medical leave, employment contracts, disability discrimination, and a variety of others issues in both New Jersey and New York. To discuss how our knowledgeable advocates may assist you, please contact our law firm online or give us a call today at 973-781-1204 or 646-867-7997.

More Blog Posts:

Supreme Court Refuses to Review Decision That States Employers in New York and Nationwide Must Provide Disabled Workers With Reasonable Accommodations, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, June 29, 2013
AARP Survey Finds Most Older Americans in New York and Nationwide Have Experienced Age Discrimination at Work, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, June 18, 2013
Additional Resources:

5 Settle Gender Bias Suit Against Fire Department, by Joseph Goldstein, New York Times

FDNY Will Pay $1 Million to Settle Gender-Discrimination Suit, by Pervaiz Shallwani, Wall Street Journal

Photo credit: harper07, Stock.xchng

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