By John V. Berry, www.berrylegal.com
In an interesting case filed on May 31, 2011, in Stanley v. Detroit, No.11-cv-12365 (E.D. Mich. May 31, 2011), a Detroit police lieutenant has filed suit against the City of Detroit, claiming that a physical agility test needed for individuals to qualify for the Department’s Special Response Team (SRT) violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was discriminatory towards female police officers.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by Lieutenant Sherell Stanley of the Detroit Police Department, who had expressed interest in trying out for the Department's SRT unit in July 2008 after a notice was issued by the Department, advising employees that a physical agility test would be conducted that August and another one during September.
According to the lawsuit, Lieutenant Stanley was discouraged by male supervisors from trying out. Apparently, one male lieutenant had informed Lieutenant Stanley that no female had ever passed the agility examination but that she could try out. It is alleged that others within the Department had made similar discriminatory comments towards her as she applied for the SRT unit.
Thereafter, in late September 2008 Lieutenant Stanley, according to the suit, tried out for the SRT unit but did not qualify because she was female, even though the physical criteria for the SRT unit was not job related. Lieutenant Stanley alleged that the physical criteria used in the tryouts was discriminatory towards women. Lieutenant Stanley also alleges that the Department was asked to reevaluate the physical examination, but would not do so, eventually leading to the lawsuit that was filed in court on May 31, 2011.
A copy of the lawsuit is available here Download Stanley case