New FDNY diversity laws aim to increase inclusion, curb discrimination

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has signed new legislation to address the lack of diversity among members of the FDNY.

The package of five bills, signed Monday at the FDNY’s training facility on Randalls Island, aims to improve recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups within the department.

The legislation also mandates diversity, inclusion, anti-discrimination, and anti-harassment training for FDNY personnel.

“New York City’s diversity is our strength, and these five bills will help build a more inclusive FDNY that is reflective of the millions of New Yorkers we serve,” Adams said in a written statement. “I’m grateful to our colleagues in the City Council for their partnership and commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive Fire Department for generations to come.”

FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh, the first woman to hold this title, called today’s signing historic.

“This is only meaningful if I’m not the last ‘first’ – you know, not just the first woman. There are so many ‘firsts’ to be made in such a diverse city, and I really want to see that move forward.”

According to NY City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, a sponsor of one of the bills, the new recruitment effort will involve social media campaigns and representatives going into communities to encourage folks to join the FDNY.

Another part of the legislation requires the FDNY to survey firehouses and ensure they are equipped to serve a mixed gender workforce.

This comes after officials say there were some complaints that some women felt uncomfortable in changing areas or locker rooms.

Lawmakers also want to increase transparency on the demographics of members in a firehouse through public reporting.

A City Council oversight hearing in September looked at the department’s efforts to increase diversity as well as past cases of harassment and discrimination against women and minorities in the department.

As recently as a few months ago, just 8% of FDNY personnel were Black, 2% were Asian and only 1% were women.

This compares to recent statistics showing New York City’s general population is 21% Black, 15% Asian and 52% female.

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.