On February 14, 2013, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Jacksonville Branch (NAACP) and the Jacksonville Brotherhood of firefighters, a Chapter of the International Association of African-American Professional Fire Fighters (JBOF) brought this class action lawsuit for ...
read more >
On February 14, 2013, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Jacksonville Branch (NAACP) and the Jacksonville Brotherhood of firefighters, a Chapter of the International Association of African-American Professional Fire Fighters (JBOF) brought this class action lawsuit for violations of Title VII in the U.S. District Court of Middle District of Florida. The plaintiffs alleged that defendant, the Consolidated City of Jacksonville, through its Fire and Rescue Department, had recruitment, hiring, assignment and transfer polices that have a disparate impact on black candidates and black firefighters. The plaintiffs sought declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief, as well as class action certification.
The class was specified as all black candidates or aspiring black candidates for employment who were denied employment or dissuaded from applying by JFRD's discriminatory hiring process and all present or past black firefighters who have been subject to a hostile work environment, and/or discriminatory assignment and transfer policies, from July 30, 2006 to the present, two years prior to the sworn filing of the EEOC complaint.
The case was assigned to District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan. On June 3, 2013, the plaintiffs moved for temporary restraining order. On October 24, 2013, Judge Corrigan denied the motion and ordered the parties to mediate by December 16, 2013. Settlement negotiations proceeded for three years, and were ultimately successful. In March 2016, the parties proposed a settlement agreement.
The remedy included a payment of $250,000 to settlement funds. The city agreed to hire a group of prospective firefighters over the next five years who did not yet have a state certification and allow them to complete the required training within the 18 months of hiring. This was to meet the goal to build a fire and rescue workforce reflective of the community, first announced in 1999. The agreement covered hiring through 2021. In addition, the settlement included policies on transfer, work environment, anti-harassment training, and record-keeping and reporting obligations. The city agreed to grant requests to transfer to the most senior individual with qualifications who submits a reassignment request. The city also agreed to maintain work environment free from harassment and retaliation, provide anti-harassment training to all current and new personnel and document harassment complaints or investigations. The city agreed to provide an annual report to the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission containing information about training, work environment policy and harassment and retaliation complaints.
On May 13, 2016, the parties filed a joint notice of settlement and motion for voluntary dismissal with prejudice. On May 16, 2016, Judge Corrigan granted the motion. The court retained jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement.
Implementation of the settlement agreement is ongoing.Susie Choi - 02/27/2017