Settlement Reached in Discrimination Case Against Cobb County Fire Department

Settlement Reached in Discrimination Case Against Cobb County Fire Department

A resolution has been reached in a discrimination case against Cobb County, Georgia, following claims by the United States alleging discriminatory practices in the county’s hiring process for entry-level firefighters. The settlement, facilitated through a consent decree, addresses the allegations of discrimination against African Americans in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Every person, regardless of race, deserves an equal opportunity to compete for jobs,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Employers should identify and eliminate policies and procedures that create a discriminatory impact on applicants based on race.”

“This settlement should send a strong message to employers that reliance on a job applicant’s credit history may be discriminatory and unlawful,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Georgia, focused on two aspects of Cobb County’s firefighter hiring process. Firstly, it challenged the use of credit checks to screen out candidates, and secondly, it contested the use of a written examination to rank applicants. Both practices were found to disproportionately affect qualified African American candidates.

As part of the consent decree, Cobb County will cease the use of credit checks and the written examination in its firefighter selection process. Additionally, the county will provide $750,000 in back pay to eligible African American candidates who were denied employment due to these practices. Up to 16 priority hires will also be made from the disqualified applicant pool, with retroactive seniority.

The case was brought forward by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia in collaboration with the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division’s Employment Litigation Section. Key individuals involved in the case include Aileen Bell Hughes, Brian McEntire, and Juliet Gray.