Last year, a U.S. Appeals Court ruled in favor of Black Chicago Fire Department (CFD) applicants who said the way the CFD used application test results was discriminatory. As a result, the court ruled that the city had to hire 111 Black firefighters and pay damages to at least 6,000 other applicants who were denied employment following a 1995 exam.
Earlier this month, a group of Black firefighter trainees were out for a morning run through the South Loop. They are among the group of newly hired firemen, as a result of the lawsuit.
The 1995 application included a firefighting aptitude test. A score of 64 or better was required to qualify to be a fireman. But the city chose to hire applicants who scored an 89 or better on the test. The court ruled that the city’s choice was discriminatory because there was no evidence that an applicant who scored an 89 or higher would be a better fireman than an applicant who scored between 64 and 88.
Not only were the applicants who scored between 64 and 88 hired to be firemen, the city had to adjust their pensions as if they had been with the CFD for the last 16 years.
By Rhonda Gillespie