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City to pay women $1M in FDNY gender-bias settlement

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Manhattan, NY (PIX) – As the 9-1-1 call system controversy continues, PIX 11 learned of a million dollar settlement in a gender and race discrimination lawsuit against the city and FDNY.

Five female EMTs sued the FDNY back in 2006.  Some call EMS a “good ol’ boys club”, when it comes to promotions within the department.

Currently, there is a civil service exam for EMT officers to become Lieutenants but any rank higher than that, such as Captain, are all appointed by the Chief.

This lawsuit has been carrying on for seven years until February, when the city finally settled out of court. The case is finalizing this week, according to the lawyer’s office representing the women.

 According to the ‘Stipulation of Settlement’, the total price tag of the settlement is $1,063,507.  That is divvied up between the five women who received upwards of $265,000 per person.  The money is considered back wages, so it counts toward their pensions.  Incidentally, retirement came a little early for some of them because the settlement required them all to retire by May of 2013.

But it is not the money that matters most, says Mary Dandridge, one of the plaintiffs in the case.

She told PIX 11 that what she truly wants to see come out of this lawsuit is for EMS to create a civil service exam for those upper ranks that would keep potential discrimination out of the promotion process. The salary difference between Lieutenant and Division Commander can be $70,000 or more a year.  To put this into perspective, NYPD, Corrections, Sanitations and even FDNY all have that kind of process for some of their own upper ranks.

EMS is the only one that does.  “That’s what we want to change,” said Dandridge.

An FDNY spokesman told PIX 11 that an exam is not enough to promote someone into a vital position like Captain, so they want to look at an applicant’s entire body of work.  Plus, he says, nearly 1/3 of EMS workforce is female.

For Division Commander, the highest rank that is just below Chief, there are 5 females out of 11.  Those numbers change a bit when you look at the rank of Captain:  16 females out of 60.  And that is the rank that is appointed, as opposed to tested.

FDNY says those numbers speak for themselves.

Dandridge says the fact that the city settled her discrimination case speaks for itself.

The lawyer for the five women in this lawsuit plans to hold a press conference on Friday when some of the women involved in the suit will speak publicly in uniform.