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FDNY’s beleaguered EEO office gets help from city attorneys

Clearing more cases since reinforcements arrived

Posted 5/31/24

The FDNY’s understaffed Equal Employment Opportunity office started receiving help from the city’s Law Department in May after a federal judge ordered the department and city to find more lawyers to clear the backlog of EEO cases. The FDNY’s EEO office had only nine full-time staff attorneys – just over half of the desired headcount of 16 – earlier this year. But, since the judge's order in March, three attorneys working elsewhere in the FDNY have taken on EEO cases as have three attorneys from the city’s Law Department.

The directive to use attorneys from outside the EEO office came from Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis who, in 2011, found the FDNY liable for racial discrimination and imposed a monitor, still in place, to oversee recruitment, hiring and equal employment opportunity in the FDNY. Two years later, the city agreed to pay $98 million to settle long-standing bias claims by Black and Latino applicants to entry-level firefighter positions.

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