- Associated Press - Sunday, November 8, 2020

CHICAGO (AP) - A former jail guard has filed a federal lawsuit against the Cook County sheriff for allegedly dismissing her bid to become a courthouse deputy because she failed a fitness test.

Denise Hobbs, 59, claimed the test is discriminatory based on age, sex and race and the sheriff has required it even after an administrative judge ruled otherwise, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Hobbs twice failed the test in 2019. She said she was told to go back to work at the jail but then retired soon after.

She was among 25 people taking part in the training academy for courthouse deputies. Six were rejected, including Hobbs and three other Black women, one Black man and a white man, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the test was biased because it doesn’t correspond with a courthouse deputy’s duties and the standards were the same for all despite lower average abilities of older people and women.

Hobbs seeks unspecified damages and a court order blocking the sheriff from using the test.

The test, which was administered between 2014 and 2019, was agreed to by the union representing courthouse deputies

Matthew Walberg, a spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, said that the test was eliminated in 2019 “for reasons unrelated to the merits of the test.”

He said the guards who failed, including Hobbs, threatened a lawsuit and were offered courthouse jobs and Hobbs declined.

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