Award Finally Decided in Connecticut Firefighters Suit

August 3, 2011 ( - After seven years of wrangling in a discrimination case, 20 firefighters will receive a $2 million payout from the city of New Haven, Connecticut, CNN reports.

The compensation dates back to a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision that the city discriminated against white firefighters when it threw out the results of promotion exams in 2004 (see High Court Tosses City’s Move to Invalidate Promotion Exam). The settlement includes three years of additional pensioner benefits.  

According to the news report, one Hispanic and 19 white firefighters will share the payout. It will compensate for back pay, attorney fees and additional credits.   

Of the group, the 14 who qualified for promotion assumed their new positions following the Supreme Court decision. Three African-American and two Hispanic firefighters who passed the test also were also promoted. 

The firefighters took promotion exams in 2003 for lieutenant and captain positions that had become available. New Haven officials ultimately threw out the test results – on which no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters scored high enough to be named lieutenants or captains – and said it feared a “disparate impact” suit over allegations it treated different classes of employees differently.