AUSTIN, TX – A federal agency has determined that the Austin Firefighters Association is also culpable in a hiring process officials allege discriminated against Hispanic and African-American applicants to the Austin Fire Department, according to the union.
In a statement issued late Thursday, Bob Nicks, president of the association, said the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had recently notified the union that it “is guilty of discrimination based on the results of the 2012 Austin Fire Department cadet hiring process.”
Nicks said he was disappointed by the finding, which followed an investigation into the hiring of Austin firefighters that started in May 2013.
In September, the commission notified the city that it had found evidence that Hispanic and African-American applicants were discriminated against as a result of the city’s 2012 hiring process.
Nicks was not available to comment further about the commission’s allegation, nor would the association share the letter it received from the federal agency.
Joseph Olivares, a spokesman for the commission, said federal law restricts the agency from confirming or denying discrimination charge filings, investigations or administrative resolutions. Information about such discrimination cases only becomes public when the commission files a lawsuit, which is a last resort, he said.
The Austin City Council is expected to vote next week on a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over separate allegations that Hispanic and African-American applicants were discriminated against as a result of the Austin Fire Department’s hiring process.