Ruling May Change Racial Balance of Boston Fire Department

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Dozens of white firefighter applicants in Boston passed over for minorities may be hired because of a federal appeals court ruling dismantling the city’s 29-year-old affirmative action policy.

A Boston Globe analysis of the March 27 court decision and the results of civil service exams administered within the past three years shows that about 70 white men and women who were bypassed in favor of lower-scoring minorities now have legal standing to claim jobs. These applicants would have been hired had the city abandoned affirmative action in 2000 when, the court ruled, racial parity had been achieved in the fire department.

Hundreds of other white applicants are in line to claim future firefighter jobs in the Boston Fire Department, a dynamic that, over time, will disrupt a racial balance 30 years in the making.


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