Boston, MA: (May-31-07) A class action racial discrimination lawsuit was filed against the state's Police and Fire departments, alleging that minority applicants who took civil service exams were discriminated against. A federal judge ruled in 2006 that the state's 2002 and 2004 firefighter exams discriminated against blacks and Hispanics and was about to hold a trial to consider additional claims resulting from arguments that the 2003 and 2005 police exams were also unfair to members of minority groups. The class action suit was filed against the state and the city of Lynn on behalf of four black firefighter applicants, who lost out because of their racial status.
In a settlement reached, the state agreed to pay a total of up to $1.45 million in back pay to minorities who lost out on employment prospects due to the discrimination. The state further ordered Boston, Brookline, and 18 other cities and towns to offer police and firefighter jobs to 66 minority candidates statewide, including 26 in Boston, who took civil service exams between 2003 and 2005. One of the men who brought the suit, Jared Thomas, 24, a lifelong Lynn resident, who scored a 92 on the 2004 exam, said that he has wanted to be a firefighter since he took a fourth-grade field trip to a fire station and that he hopes he will get a job with the Lynn Fire Department as a result of the settlement. [BOSTON GLOBE: DEPARTMENT DISCRIMINATION]