Pa. State Police Sued Over Fitness Test

Federal lawsuit says physical standards discriminate against women.

A new lawsuit from the federal Justice Department says the fitness test used to determine entry into the Pennsylvania State Police academy illegally discriminates against women.

AP reports:

A test begun in 2003 consisted of a 300-meter run, sit-ups, push-ups, a vertical jump and a 1.5-mile run, the lawsuit said. The test carried cut-off scores for each of the five events, and the state police required that applicants pass each event, it said.

From 2003 to 2008, 94 percent of male applicants passed the fitness test, while 71 percent of female applicants passed. Under a similar test administered in 2009 through 2012, 98 percent of male applicants passed, while 72 percent of female applicants passed, the lawsuit said.

If women had passed the test at the same rate as men, the Justice Department says, at least 45 more women would’ve been hired by the police as entry-level troopers since 2012.

The key to all this, according to the Justice Department, is that the test measures skills “that are not required to perform the job.”

Here is what the feds are seeking: “In the lawsuit, the department seeks a court order that would require the Pennsylvania State Police to stop using the challenged physical fitness tests, develop hiring procedures that comply with Title VII and provide make-whole relief, including offers of hire, retroactive seniority, and back pay to individual women who have been harmed as a result of the defendants’ use of the challenged physical fitness tests.”

The complaint can be found here. The Justice Department press release is here.