City Disputes EEOC's Discrimination Charges Against Fire Department

A fire truck beside a sign that reads "Cleveland Fire Department Training"
The report says the fire department discriminates against black, Hispanic and female applicants through its entry tests. [Cleveland Fire / Facebook]
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The Cleveland Fire Department is facing charges of discrimination in its employment process from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

But the city says it doesn’t agree with those findings.

The report accuses the fire department of discriminating against black, Hispanic and female applicants through its written and physical entry exams. The EEOC also said black firefighters in the department were passed over for promotions and that many fire stations don’t have restrooms or showers for female firefighters. The report names the Vanguards of Cleveland, an organization under the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, as the charging party.

The City of Cleveland disagreed with the charges in the report in an email statement to ideastream.

“The City disagrees with the findings contained in the determination letter received from the EEOC that the City has discriminated against Black, Hispanic, and female firefighters and individuals applying for employment with the City’s Division of Fire,” the statement says. “The City is presently reviewing these matters and anticipates having further dialogue with the EEOC in the near future.”

The city can voluntarily fix the issues brought up in the report, according to the EEOC. If the city does not make changes, or if the changes fail to solve the issues brought up in the report, one next step could be for the EEOC to provide the charging party with "court enforcement alternatives."

The entire report has not been made publicly available by the EEOC. ideastream has submitted a request for the report under the Freedom of Information Act.

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