BY RICHARD KHAVKIN
A number of the city’s strongest have filed a class action lawsuit claiming the Sanitation Department and the city discriminated against them because of their gender and race by underpaying them for work substantially the same as performed by others being much more remunerated. better.
The federal lawsuit, filed July 25 in U.S. District Court by 13 current or former DSNY law enforcement officers and associate remediation enforcement officers, seeks department-wide corrections alleged inequalities, compensatory and punitive damages and arrears of wages with interest.
The lawsuit claims that the duties of DSNY Enforcement Officers and Associate Enforcement Officers are essentially the same as DSNY Police Officers, but that Sanitation Police earn significantly more than Enforcement Officers. and receive better benefits while employed and also after retirement. the agency. According to the complaint, DSNY police earn $77,318 after five and a half years with the department, while “many” enforcement officers earn less than $45,000 after 15 or even 30 years.
All of the named plaintiffs are either black, Hispanic or Native American with between the ages of 12 and 33 with the department, according to the suit. Six are women. None earn or have earned more than $49,545, with the lowest salary being $43,000.
Enforcers and their union, the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association, which represents both enforcement officers and DSNY police, have been advocating for years for enforcement officers to be recognized. as part of the department’s uniformed services.
The pending lawsuit says that, like their police colleagues in the department, law enforcement officers issue summonses for parking, criminal offenses and the Environmental Control Board, and investigate complaints of illegal dumping. and other alleged offences, enforce regulations and, depending on the action, even make arrests.
In fact, according to the lawsuit, the enforcement officers trained the sanitation police on their duties.
“Enforcers perform work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility
under similar working conditions as the sanitation police,” he says, adding that they “have the same responsibilities and perform the same functions as the sanitation police.”
But, the complaint continues, law enforcement officers “are predominantly minorities, while sanitation police officers are ‘predominantly white and male.’ It also alleges that, as a percentage, there are two times as many black enforcement officers as there are black health police officers and twice as many female enforcement officers as female DSNY police officers.
There are, however, notable differences between the titles.
DSNY police officers, like their law enforcement colleagues, are law enforcement officers who are licensed to carry firearms, and do. Unlike law enforcement officers, they must also hold a commercial driver’s license, which allows them to operate snow plows during snow-related emergencies, as well as other heavy equipment when needed. .
The Sanitation Police are also empowered to carry out vehicle stops, seize cars and trucks, detain people and issue summonses for criminal offences.
Indeed, the department likens the differences between its police and law enforcement officers to those between transit police and transit booth staff.
The department, however, says it has made considerable efforts to close the pay gap, such as trying to promote Enforcement Officers from Level 1 to Level 2 and then to Supervisor, Associate Enforcement Officer. sanitation whenever possible.
But DSNY says even that effort was frustrated by the lack of a contract, which the department says is due to enforcers and associate enforcers refusing to accept agreements that follow. the city’s wage adjustment model.
A DSNY spokesperson said “the city’s legal department is reviewing the matter and will respond if there is a dispute.”