City of Jacksonville Agrees to Pay $4.9 Million to Settle Class Race Discrimination Lawsuit
Union Negotiated in Favor of Discriminatory Promotional Examinations, Federal Agency Charged
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that it has resolved its race discrimination lawsuit against the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters, Local 122, IAFF. The EEOC's lawsuit against the union was a companion case to the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against the City of Jacksonville (Case No.3-12-cv-451-J-32MCR), which alleged that the city's promotional practices for various positions in the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964's prohibition against race discrimination.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, filed April 30, 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (EEOC v. Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, Local 122, IAFF, 3:12-cv-491-J-32MCR), the union advocated for an unlawful promotional process that had a disparate impact on African-American promotional candidates. The EEOC said the union continued doing so after receiving an EEOC Commissioner's discrimination charge against the union in February 2008, and after the city's Human Rights Commission issued a report on Aug. 8, 2006 recommending changes to the JFRD promotional process.
The consent decree entered by the court resolves the claims of the DOJ and EEOC, as well as claims brought against the city and/or union by private plaintiffs the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Jacksonville Branch, and the Jacksonville Brotherhood of Firefighters. Through the decree approved by the court on Feb. 5, 2019, the city agreed that it would develop a new promotional examination for the selection of certain positions in the Fire and Rescue Department. In addition, the city will offer up to 40 settlement promotion positions for qualified African-Americans and will establish a $4.9 million settlement fund for eligible promotion candidates.
"We are pleased that the union has agreed with the city's decision to make changes to the promotional process and provide relief to eligible African-American promotion candidates," said EEOC District Director Michael Farrell. "The EEOC will continue to identify and fight promotional processes that operate as systemic barriers to employment based on legally protected characteristics."
The EEOC's Miami District Office is comprised of the Miami, Tampa and San Juan EEOC offices, and has jurisdiction over Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.