The U.S. Justice Department launched a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania State Police, alleging that the physical fitness tests the department gives as part of its application process are unfair to women.
The lawsuit, spanning 10 pages and filed in federal court in Harrisburg, claimed that using the tests to screen for entry-level positions was tantamount to employment discrimination, The Association Press reported. Way more men then women passed the fitness exam — and that means far fewer women were hired by the State Police for entry-level positions, the court paperwork says.
The suit alleges that if the test had been fair, the State Police force would actually have about 43 more women on its employment rolls, AP reported.
The Justice Department said the unfair fitness tests violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, because they did not qualify as business necessities, AP reported.
"The Department of Justice is deeply committed to eliminating artificial barriers that keep qualified women out of public safety work," said Jocelyn Samuels, the acting assistant attorney general for the department's civil rights division, AP reported.
The State Police force employes 4,677 sworn members.
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