The Department of Justice today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with the City of Jacksonville, Florida (the “City”) to resolve allegations that the City’s promotional practices for positions in the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII is a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, or religion. The proposed settlement agreement, which must still be approved by a federal judge, finalizes an agreement in principle reached by the parties in January 2017.
In a joint motion filed by the parties today in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the Justice Department, the City, the International Association of Fire Firefighters (the “Union”), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and various private plaintiffs asked the court to enter a provisional order that sets out the terms of the settlement agreement. Under the terms of the settlement, the City agrees to develop new promotional examinations for the selection of certain positions in the JFRD. The City also will offer settlement promotions to qualified African Americans and will establish a $4.9 million settlement fund for eligible claimants.
“The Justice Department is committed to enforcing Title VII to remove unlawful discriminatory barriers. The Settlement Agreement announced today ensures that all promotional candidates in the JFRD are given a fair opportunity to compete for advancement,” said John Gore, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division.
The proposed settlement agreement will resolve the complaint filed by the Justice Department in federal court on April 23, 2012, a separate lawsuit filed against the Union by the EEOC, and claims brought against the City and/or Union by various private plaintiffs, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Jacksonville Branch, and the Jacksonville Brotherhood of Firefighters.
This matter was handled for the United States by Jay Adelstein, Hector Ruiz, Brian McEntire, Jeremy Monteiro, Sharyn Tejani, and Clare Geller, all current or former attorneys in the Civil Rights’ Division’s Employment Litigation Section. Additional information about Title VII and other federal employment laws is available on the Civil Rights Division’s website at https://www.justice.gov/crt
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