Ok, so maybe it was not a hammer that dropped, it was a gavel, but the metaphor is clearly there: something big happened in the Big Apple on January 21, 2010.
Just one week after Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis determined FDNY had intentionally discriminated against minorities in the 1999 and 2002 hiring processes, he ordered the remedy… and it will no doubt be a bitter pill for many to swallow: for every five firefighters the department hires, two must be black and one must be Hispanic. The remedy will last at least until 293 identified minority applicants are hired, and those applicants will be entitled to retroactive seniority.
In addition, the court is ordering the department to develop a new non-discriminatory hiring process, and compensate roughly 7,400 minority applicants who took the 1999 and 2002 tests in question.
The judge declined to order a formal hiring quota that had been sought by the Vulcan Society, a fraternal organization of black firefighters who joined the suit along with the United States and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).
By various accounts, FDNY is between 91-93% white male and the long-standing disparity in pass rates between white and minority applicants have resulted in two determinations of disparate impact discrimination (in 1972 and again in July, 2009), and a precedent setting finding of disparate treatment (intentional) discrimination by Judge Garaufis on January 13, 2010.
An appeal would appear to be imminent.