The Status of Employment Discrimination Suits in Police and Fire Departments Across the United States

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Research indicates that women and people of color have made progress in gaining entry-level jobs in government, particularly at the federal level, but still lag behind in gaining positions at the upper levels. But, can the same be said for police and fire departments which have had perhaps the worst history of employment discrimination against women and people of color? This study seeks to answer this question by examining the extent to which race, gender or ethnic discrimination suits are being filed against city fire and police departments across the country, and at what level-entry or senior. The U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Ricci v. DeStefano has renewed interest in this issue.Interestingly enough, while this study expected to find that lawsuits against police and fire departments are being filed by women and people of color in order to improve their representation in the uniformed services, it found just the opposite-the preponderance of the lawsuits filed against police and fire departments are "reverse discrimination" suits, filed by White men. © The Author(s) 2012.

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Review of Public Personnel Administration

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