New York, NY: (Feb-26-08) A class action lawsuit was brought against the city of New York, alleging that the city's parks department discriminated against black and Hispanic employees seeking better pay and promotion. The suit, which was filed on behalf of 3,500 people in 2001, claimed that between 1997 and 2004 the department retaliated against black and Hispanic employees who complained about discrimination and neglected parks in neighborhoods that housed black and Hispanic populations.
City sources confirmed that a settlement had been reached in the long standing legal battle, in which New York City has agreed to pay $21 million to settle the class action lawsuit. Court records show that the settlement was reached in the nick of time, as a trial had been due to begin in November 2008. Sources on both sides stated that though the settlement took a long time, it is a significant step in the direction of equal employment opportunity for African American and Latino employees of the city of New York. Additionally, as part of the settlement, in which almost $12 million would be distributed among the 3,500 claimants and almost $9 million paid in lawyer's fees and costs, the city agreed to review its pay and promotion decisions. [