Pennsylvania State Police to Pay $2.2 Million to Settle Federal Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination Against Women

Pennsylvania State Police to pay $2.2 million to settle federal lawsuit.
Pennsylvania State Police to pay $2.2 million to settle federal lawsuit.Getty

The Pennsylvania State Police will pay $2.2 million to settle a Justice Department suit alleging the department discriminated against female applicants.

The Pennsylvania State Police will pay $2.2 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the department's physical tests discriminated against women.

The U.S. Justice Department announced this week an agreement had been reached in its suit claiming the agency's physical fitness hiring practices rejected otherwise qualified female applicants. The funds will be placed in a compensation account.

The department also agreed to prioritize the hiring of as many as 65 women who were affected by earlier standards for entry-level trooper positions.

The suit alleged that nearly all male recruits passed physical tests, while some 30% of females didn't. The state police have just more than 4,500 sworn members, of which 314 are women.

“Employers cannot impose selection criteria that unfairly screen out qualified female applicants,” Pamela Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement released Tuesday. 

“When the Pennsylvania State Police use a physical fitness test as part of the process for choosing state troopers, they must ensure that the test complies with federal law. This settlement agreement reflects the Civil Rights Division’s continued commitment to removing artificial barriers that prevent women from becoming law enforcement officers,” she said.

A spokesperson for the law enforcement agency said state police are committed to hiring the best qualified applicants “with an emphasis on women and minority recruitment.”

The lawsuit was filed in 2014 and cited physical requirements that allegedly discriminated against women, including stipulations that all applicants must be able to complete a 14-inch vertical jump in three attempts, perform 13 push-ups and run 300 meters in 77 seconds.

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