Illinois Woman Sues City Over Fire Department Test

July 21, 2011

A 27-year-old woman has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Chicago, alleging that the fire department’s physical fitness test discriminates against female applicants.

In a complaint filed Tuesday, Samantha Vasich says she was rejected from the fire department after being told she’d failed the “physical abilities test” in 2010.

Vasich maintains she was and is physically capable of serving as a firefighter.

She says the test doesn’t adequately gauge whether someone can do the job. And she says it has “an adverse impact upon female applicants.”

Vasich is seeking class-action status to represent all female applicants who have been turned away from the department because of the test. The city started using the current exam in 1996.

A spokeswoman for the city declined to immediately comment.

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