A federal judge on Thursday barred the District of Columbia from promoting anyone in its fire department before April 1 while he considers charges that the department discriminates against whites.
U.S. District Judge Charles R. Richey ordered also the consolidation of three lawsuits against the city challenging the fire department's hiring and promotion policies.
The Reagan Administration filed suit Monday accusing the fire department's affirmative action program of giving preference to minority members in promotion practices. Suits have also been filed by the union that represents firefighters and three white firefighters who say they were among 14 whites passed over for promotions in favor of blacks.
Richey set March 23 for a hearing on the consolidated lawsuit.
The fire department has 780 white and 494 black uniformed personnel. Blacks make up about 64% of the district's population.