Reverse Discrimination lawsuit against Bridgeport settled

Reverse discrimination lawsuits filed against the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, by twelve white and Hispanic firefighters alleging reverse discrimination were settled on December 1, 2009. The law suit filed in federal court in April alleged that the city had illegally denied promotions to the white and Hispanic firefighters by rescoring a 2006 lieutenant promotional exam.

Oddly enough, the rescoring took place in July, 2008 and resulted in three lieutenants being demoted based upon the rescoring. The city changed the original promotional grading formula from 50 percent written, 45 percent oral and 5 percent seniority to 75 percent oral and 25 percent written to help the minority candidates.

The Bridgeport case had many of the same earmarks of the recent U.S. Supreme Court case involving the New Haven fire department. The Bridgeport settlement requires the city  to reinstate the three demoted firefighters to the rank they held in 2007, and firefighters who passed the exam as per the original scoring will be promoted granting them back pay and seniority retroactive to August 2008. The legal fees of  $75,000 will also be paid by the city.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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