CHICAGO - The City of Chicago has been ordered to hire 111 Black men and to compensate 6,000 others who were passed over for employment due to discriminatory testing practices.
The city must hire 111 bypassed black firefighters by March 2012 and pay at least $30 million in damages
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed that black candidates did not wait too long before filing the lawsuit
A federal appeals court affirmed that ruling in May and remanded the case back to the trial court to implement a hiring remedy the city had been stalling.
The order calls for the city begin by sending postcards to all 6,000 black bypassed black candidates.
Candidates who pass on the jobs lottery will receive cash awards of at least $5,000 per person. Chicago taxpayers will also be on the hook for $10 million to $20 million in back pension contributions for those who get jobs. That means the total cost could approach $50 million.
“We’re extremely pleased that, after all these years, this long-running legal fight is coming to an end,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Matt Piers.
Noting that Chicago taxpayers are liable for an additional $500,000 in back pay for every month the hiring is delayed, Piers said, “The attitude of the Emanuel administration has been to attempt to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
“I don’t think we’ll have a problem coming up with 111 who still want the job and are fully qualified to have it,” said Joshua Karsh, another attorney representing the plaintiffs.
"It's definitely a huge victory," said Greg Boggs of the African-American Firefighters and Paramedics League. "We're really happy about this, although it's bittersweet that is took 16 years for it to take place."
"The 111 is a start in the right direction," Boggs said. "So the people that are still interested in the job, they will have the opportunity to go forward and be given the chance they weren't given 15 years ago."