COMPANY CULTURE / AUG. 10, 2014
version 5, draft 5

Pennsylvania State Police Sued for Physical Fitness Test Discrimination

troopers
Pennlive

Sex discrimination in the workforce seems to be one issue that will always be an existing concern for workers around the world.

According to Catalyst, sex discrimination “exists when a person or group of people are treated unfavorably solely on the basis of their sex. In the U.S., it is illegal to discriminate based on sex including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, and benefits. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, hiring discrimination and pregnancy discrimination.” 

As the second highest discriminatory act reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), females commonly report sex discrimination claims, but the number of sexual harassment claims by men have surprisingly increased considerably.

In 2010, 29.1 percent (29,029) of charges related to sex discrimination in the workforce was filed. Within the same year, 16.2 percent of sexual harassment claims were filed by men. In 2013, 29.5 percent (27,687) of sex discrimination claims were reported. Sexual harassment cases involving acts against men totaled at 17.6 percent.

However, these figures do not defeat the fact that women tend to get the bad end of the stick, and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) is no stranger to these accusations.

A lawsuit has been filed against the PSP entry-level state trooper physical fitness test. The claim asserts that the requirements on the Physical Readiness Test intentionally discriminate against women.

PSP says that their test was developed by an independent party and was later reformed and validated to meet the physicality needs of both sexes. 

Between 2003 and 2008, 94 percent of male applicants passed whereas only 71 percent of females passed.

The test was significantly modified in 2009, but while the number of passing females increased by 1 percent (72%) up until 2012, the number of passing males increased by 4 percent (98%).

Currently, the test involves similar physical requirements as before, which includes doing 13 pushups, leaping a 14-inch vertical jump, running 300 meters in 77 seconds, and completing 1.5 miles in 17 minutes and 48 seconds.

The suit alleges that both statistics show an exceptional gap between the number of passing male and female applicants.

On Tuesday July 29, the Harrisburg federal court stated that it would be examining the physical requirements instituted in 2003, which may be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Police Commissioner Frank Noonan has pleaded with the federal Justice Department to withdraw the charges, stating that it “…would be insulting to those men and women who already strove to achieve those standards and, more importantly, would endanger current and future troopers, the residents of Pennsylvania and all individuals served by the distinguished men and women of the Pennsylvania State Police.”

Furthermore, the department believes that the case would be an unnecessary expense for taxpayers in the country.

The lawsuit plans to not only place a stop to PSP’s employment malpractices, but also aims to remunerate any past and present female applicants with employment offers and back pay. 

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