In May of 2015, 12 female officers from the Colorado Springs police department filed a lawsuit against the city. The women claimed they were unfairly singled out by the department’s mandatory physical fitness test, but did those claims have merit? A U.S. District Court judge has ruled on the case, and this ruling could affect how police test for physical fitness all over the state.
Did a Fitness Test Discriminate Against Female Officers?
Every year, members of the Colorado Springs Police Department have to undergo a physical fitness test. Most officers pass this test easily—in 2014, around 98 percent of officers passed the test. However, it was the demographic of those who failed that caught some attention.
Nearly 40 percent of the Female police officers over the age of 40 who took the test failed. Failing this test results in the loss of duties and a reassignment in the department. This alarmed several of these female officers, who banded together and filed a lawsuit.
They claimed that the test violated their civil rights and caused undue ostracism and shame due to the consequences of failing the allegedly slanted test. U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch agreed, saying that the fitness test provided “meaningless” results. In response to the ruling, the City of Colorado Springs approved a $2.5 million settlement with the defendants, citing the costs of continued litigation rather than a flaw in the police’s fitness aptitude test.
Even though this case ended in a settlement, police agencies all over the state may have to change their mandatory physical fitness testing policies. One official for the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police told The Gazette that many departments will have to reexamine their policies, which shows just how powerful a civil lawsuit like this can truly be. Other fields of work can also benefit from lawsuits like this, so contacting an attorney when your rights have been neglected, or when your workplace has become dangerous, is essential to protecting you and your family’s future.