In an apparent attempt to show the public she is taking a stand against racism, the Mayor of Houston has filed suit against three firefighters who had been vindicated by an arbitrator.
The case involves a city accusation that one of the three firefighters used the N word in a computer report, although that assertion is denied by the members. The firefighters’ union reports there was no evidence to support the city’s case, and that the lack of security on the computer system makes it impossible to know for sure who made the entry in question.
The firefighters’ position was affirmed earlier this month by an arbitrator after hearing evidence. The arbitrator ordered the men reinstated with backpay. Nevertheless, Mayor Annise Parker ordered the suit to be filed to recover the back pay granted to the firefighters by the arbitrator.
The case follows on the heels of the settlement of a suit by 7 black firefighters who alleged race discrimination. That settlement was approved by the Houston City Council on Wednesday and calls for $300,000 in payments to the firefighters and their attorneys.
The 2008 suit alleged a disparate impact on a promotional examination for captain. The 7 plaintiffs passed the exam but were not promoted.