NYC Workplace Discrimination

FDNY Vows to Improve Diversity with New Legislation

November 17, 2022

firefighter in front of firetruck
author bio pic of Parisis G. Filippatos

Written by Lily Filippatos

Brought to you by Filippatos Empoyment Law, Litigation & ADR

The Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) has historically exhibited a glaring lack of racial and gender diversity, and has faced a plethora of lawsuits regarding discrimination in its workforce. Earlier this month, the City Council passed a legislative package aimed at finally improving the FDNY’s equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Some of the main goals of the legislation include recruiting and retaining a diverse team of firefighters, eliminating exclusionary practices, and improving overall transparency around FDNY policies. These measures are clearly essential, as statistics show that 75% of uniformed firefighters are white, while 18% are Hispanic, and only 8% are Black. To make matters worse, only approximately 1% of firefighters are women, with many firehouses lacking proper restroom and locker facilities for female employees.

Moving forward, the FDNY will be required to ensure all firehouses are properly equipped to serve a multi-gendered workforce; make periodic public reports on the demographics of firehouse members; provide ongoing training on harassment, diversity, and inclusion; and submit a public report of all complaints filed with the Department’s Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).

Advocates praised the passage of this legislation, expressing that it was long overdue. Additionally, many attributed the passage of these bills, which lawmakers have been attempting to pass for many years to no avail, to the diversity of the current members of the council.

“The overall lack of diversity within the FDNY is a longstanding problem we must address,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “As a Council, we are committed to advancing solutions that help correct this historic injustice.” Speaker Adams went on to say that the intention of this legislation is “to move the FDNY forward to achieving a workforce fully reflective of the rich diversity of our city.” Indeed, it is only just that the team of brave people defending New Yorkers each day reflects the community it serves.

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