A Brooklyn probationary firefighter training to join the FDNY was only days away from graduation when he says he got called before a chief to receive a brutal message: resign, or be fired.
Jason Ruben believed he had successfully made it through the grueling four-month Fire Department Fire Academy training. His instructors gave him his dress blue uniform. They ordered him to practice marching with the rest of his squad and pose with them for an official FDNY graduation picture. His mom flew in from out of state.
Six days before the 2017 ceremony, Ruben alleged in a discrimination lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court against New York City, he and six other Black firefighters were pulled out of class at the academy and told to wait in the cafeteria. They sat there for 10 hours, he said.
Then, one by one, they were brought in front of a chief. The officer told Ruben he did not meet the standard to graduate, he claims. He could resign or be terminated — but if he forced the FDNY to fire him, it might be harder for him to get employed at other city agencies.