Court Clears FBI’s Strength Test, Ruling It’s OK to Consider Gender Physiological Differences

It’s not unlawful sex discrimination under Title VII to require a man to do more pushups than a woman to qualify for a job where strength matters, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled on Monday.

In this case the FBI required male special agent trainees to do 30 pushups, while women had to do only 14.

A male trainee who was able to do only 29 pushups sued, claiming that the physical fitness test was discriminatory toward men.

But the Fourth Circuit disagreed, saying it couldn’t ignore the “physiological differences” between the sexes.

“An employer does not contravene Title VII when it utilizes physical fitness standards that distinguish between the sexes on the basis of their physiological differences but impose an equal burden of compliance on both men and women, requiring the same level of physical fitness of each,” the ruling said.

The decision is Bauer v. Lynch, and you can find it here.



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