The City of Chicago recently settled a lawsuit with a class of women that alleged that the Fire Department’s testing process was discriminatory. The settlement was for $1.98 million, with potentially an additional $1.7 million in legal fees.
The women filed a lawsuit in 2011 and alleged that the Fire Department applied a discriminatory test that measured upper body strength, which would be unnecessary for their job duties. Nearly two hundred women passed a 2006 written exam, but later failed a 2010 physical exam. The Fire Department decided to change the physical exam, and now uses a different skills test to evaluate candidates. Several of the women that previously failed the 2010 exam will reapply for positions, and will go through the hiring process.
Each individual in the class will receive between $8,000 and $18,000. The Fire Department has a mandatory age limit of thirty-eight for its firefighters. So the settlement amount will be divided between approximately fifty women who are now over the mandatory age limit of thirty-eight, along with women who are no longer interested in the job.