Impact on Women

Eliminating assignments and career advancement for civilian medics constitutes employment discrimination against existing female employees.

Recruits

The current proportion of civilian medics that are female (43%) is almost three times the proportion of firefighters who are female (17%). Consequently, by eliminating assignments and career advancement opportunities for civilian medics—but not firefighters—the Chief’s plan has had an impermissible “disparate impact” on existing female employees. Indeed, 42% of all females in the Fire Department have been negatively impacted by the Fire Chief’s plan, compared to only 14% of males.

By eliminating assignments and career advancement opportunities for civilian medics—but not firefighters—the Chief’s plan has had an impermissible “disparate impact” on existing female employees.

Current EMS supervisors (33% of whom are female, compared to only 4% of fire officers) have also been unfairly impacted. Those who wish to retain their supervisory role will be forced to become firefighters—resulting in a one-third reduction in their hourly pay rate. This is despite the fact that several City studies have previously shown that EMS supervisors operate at a level of responsibility that is already above their current level of pay.[i]

Discontinuing the hiring of medics constitutes employment discrimination against prospective female employees.

The last medic recruit class (which was hired in 2013) included 6 females (43% of those hired). The candidate pool for a 2014 medic recruit class included 18 females (29% of those who passed the written test). The 2014 medic recruit class, however, was cancelled as part of the Fire Chief’s plan to exclusively hire firefighters. The subsequent firefighter recruit class included only 3 females (only 10% of those hired)—even after candidates in the cancelled medic recruit class were offered the opportunity to apply.

Hiring exclusively for firefighter positions—even to staff ambulances in an EMS capacity as medics already do—has disparately impacted prospective female employees.

Hiring exclusively for firefighter positions—even to staff ambulances in an EMS capacity as medics already do—has thus disparately impacted prospective female employees. It has also violated the terms of a consent order entered into by the City after it was previously sued for employment discrimination (also by the fire department, also against prospective female employees).[ii]

The most recent firefighter recruit class (which started this August and is visible in the picture above) has ZERO females—a sign of things to come if the Fire Chief continues to discriminate against current and prospective female employees.

[i] See January 31, 2006 memo from City Manager James Hartman; see also January 17, 2001 Classification and Compensation Study.

[ii] Devlin v. City of Alexandria et al., No. 173-75-A (E.D.Va. Nov. 7, 1975).

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