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Fire department in Texas accused of race discrimination

When a person is denied an opportunity because of race discrimination, they may feel a combination of anger and sorrow. Federal and State regulations exist to give all eligible applicants the ability to pursue a city position regardless of their ethnicity, age or gender. A settlement was recently proposed between a city in Texas and the U.S. Department of Justice for purported race discrimination within a local fire department.

The fire department in question was accused of race discrimination against Hispanic and black applicants in the process of training. The U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation following a formal complaint against the fire department made by an unsuccessful applicant. The Justice Department claims to have found proof of the fire department’s discrimination against hopeful job applications, whether it was or was not intentional, and threatened to pursue legal action if the problem was not addressed.

An agreement was proposed, intended to alleviate the purported discriminatory atmosphere that deprived the victims of employment opportunity. The city was asked to approve a set of negotiated standards. The proposed agreement would provide as much as $780,000 to candidates that were not hired by the fire department through suspected race discrimination to cover potentially lost wages and academy tuition.

The fire department claims that the problem stems from the city’s hiring process. In the proposal, the hiring process would be federally managed for a time period between four to eight years. A Texas employee who believes that he or she has suffered race discrimination during their training may wish to seek help in guaranteeing they are given a fair and equal opportunity. In the event individuals can show that such discrimination has taken place, they may be eligible for monetary damages or even be able to obtain the jobs which were formerly denied to them.

Source: firehouse.com, "Austin City Texas Settles Firefighter Discrimination Suit", Patrick Beach, May 18, 2014

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