A group of supervisors in the New York City Department of Sanitation has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the department of discrimination.
The 11 workers taking part in the class-action suit said the department's promotion practices are clearly discriminatory.
The firm representing them said that about 55 percent of street-level sanitation workers are black or Hispanic, but that number drops to less than 5 percent in top positions.
"They basically created a classification in the Sanitation Department when it comes to promotions that if you're black or Hispanic, you don't deserve to get promoted as frequently as if you're white," said attorney Arthur Schwartz. "That violates the constitution of the United States, the equal protection clause. So we've sued the department."
"All we want is fair practice, do things right," said Ricky Thompson, a supervisor with the Sanitation Department. "Make everything accessible for everyone. Don't judge somebody their color or their content. Let's be fair."
The firm said that its plaintiffs want a special court monitor and an affirmative action plan that would require that higher positions reflect the makeup of the rank-and-file workers.
The New York City Law Department said that they're waiting to see the lawsuit before commenting.