NYC reaches $29.1 million settlement with FDNY workers in discrimination lawsuit

Larry McShane, New York Daily New

Hundreds of mostly minority FDNY fire inspectors won a $29.2 million dollar settlement from the city Thursday in a class action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in their pay compared to other city agencies.

“Our fire inspectors protect the lives and property of New Yorkers every day, and this settlement is a chance to benefit and also finally acknowledge the live-saving work of those that have been harmed by the city’s pay practices,” said Oren Barzilay, president of EMT Local 2507.

“Hopefully these decisions will help other workers recover fair pay in the future.”

The agreement in the federal case will award each worker involved in the lawsuit between $30,000 and $35,000 after legal fees and other expenses are paid from the fund. The plaintiffs alleged an annual pay gap of $9,000 compared to city Department of Building workers with similar jobs.

An email to the city Law Department for comment on the settlement was not immediately returned.

According to the lawsuit, more than 70% of the 400-plus union inspectors are people of color while their higher-paid counterparts in building inspections were about 50% white.

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