A veteran Philadelphia firefighter has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the city’s fire department, claiming he was passed over for promotion because of his race.
Lawrence Boyle, a captain with the Philadelphia Fire Department who has worked for the agency for 19 years, filed a civil complaint Sept. 20 in federal court against the City of Philadelphia and the fire department over claims that black employees have been promoted to the position of fire battalion chief while his name has been removed from the running.
Boyle says he took the required examination for fire battalion chief but his test results have never been released, and he has since been removed from the civil service list of candidates who are eligible for the promotion.
The veteran firefighter maintains that black colleagues have been promoted to the position of fire battalion chief, even though their exam scores and civil service rankings may have been, in many cases, lower than the plaintiff’s.
The complaint says that Boyle had taken the civil service promotional examination in January of this year, although he was never apprised of his results and he was subsequently “arbitrarily” removed from the civil service list of those firefighters who would be eligible to be promoted to battalion chief.
“Boyle maintains that the administration of the civil-service-promotional examination was racially discriminatory inasmuch as he as a white candidate was treated less favorably than black candidates for precisely the same position,” the lawsuit states. “Boyle further alleges that promotions for the position of Fire Battalion Chief were based on race and systematically favored black candidates over better-qualified white candidates.”
The plaintiff claims he has suffered economic losses due to his failure to be promoted.
The complaint accuses the defendants of violating the Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Boyle seeks immediate promotion to the position of fire battalion chief, as well as attorney’s fees and other legal relief.
He is represented by attorney Gregory J. Sullivan of the Hamilton, N.J. law firm of Hartsough Kenny Chase & Sullivan.
The federal case number is 2:13-cv-05515-LDD.