Paterson Approves $350k Settlement in Reverse Discrimination Suit

A captain in the Paterson, New Jersey Fire Department who was passed over for promotion to battalion chief in 2010 because of his race, has been given a $350,000 settlement.

Joseph Parkin claims that at 11:30 am on September 10th, 2010 he was told he was going to be promoted to battalion chief later that day at 5:00 p.m. At about 3:00 p.m. he was informed that Mayor Jeffery Jones refused to approve the promotion when he learned that the promotional list did not include any minorities. The complaint claims Mayor Jones said “Why would I promote someone off a list that does not include any minorities?”

Parkin filed suit in state court alleging reverse discrimination. Last night, a proposed settlement was brought before the Paterson City Council. In a 5-3 vote, the city agreed to pay Parkin a total of $350,000, with $150,000 to be paid within 30 days; $100,000 within one-year; and the final $100,000 a year later.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 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, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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