FBI Fitness Test Is Biased Against Men, Lawsuit Claims

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

FBI pushup testAn FBI analyst who failed a fitness test by one pushup claims in a federal lawsuit filed in Chicago last week that the test is biased against men.

In his lawsuit, Jay Bauer, a Mount Prospect resident, says he met other requirements to become a special agent but could do only 29 out of 30 untimed pushups and, as a result, was forced to resign from special agent training.

Bauer has disputed the FBI decision through the administrative courts.

His attorneys say a female trainee who scored poorly in firearms proficiency was given another shot at the fitness test but that Bauer wasn't.

An FBI spokeswoman said the agency doesn't usually comment on pending litigation.



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Marty

If you go to fbijobs.gov and look at the physical fitness standards for this test, you can see that the gov't took male and femal physiology into account when they created the standards. The sprint, distance run, and pushups show a fairly large discrepancy. Males are, simply put, stronger and faster because that's how their bodies are designed. As another commentor mentioned, look at the difference between marathon runners. A male in his best physical shape will always be stronger and faster than a female in her best physical shape. It's nature. But if you look at the standards for situps, they are virtually the same. In order to get one point in the situp category, a female must do at least 35 situps, while a male must do 38. In order to max it out at 10 points, a female must do at least 57 and a male must do at least 58.

It's not a bias at all -- it's just recognizing the difference between the physical make up of a male and a female. Again, I'd be pretty embarrassed if I were this guy.

April 12 2012 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
seabeeutcn

Miltary and L.E physical tests have always been biased. We do the same job, the requirements should be the same. The bad guy on the street that is going to kick your ass is not gonna take it easier on a woman cus she may lack "upper body strength".

April 12 2012 at 12:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to seabeeutcn's comment
Marty

So which would it be? Lowering the male's requirements to meet the female's, or raising the female's to meet the male's? Were they to raise the female requirements, very few females would qualify for either the military or law enforcement.

It's just a fact of nature that females are physically weaker than males. As someone already mentioned, look at marathon runners' times. Or how about Olympic athletes? If males and females were phycially capable of acheiving the same level of physical fitness, wouldn't there be co-ed Olympic events? But they aren't co-ed, and there's a reason for that: nature. It's just how we are made. Take a look at some of the event scores and times, too. Males in one Olympic event will always have a higher score than females in the same event. Surely, if it were possible to acheive the same phyiscal results, all of the scores would be equal. But they aren't. So if female Olympic athletes aren't able to acheive the same level of fitness as male Olympic athletes, why should we expect the average female to acheive the same fitness level as the average male?

The requirements aren't biased at all. The requirements simply reflect the difference in physiological make up. The female candidates must still be in peak physical shape -- it's just that the peak for a female is different than the peak for a male.

April 12 2012 at 12:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Marty

Wow. I'd be pretty embarrassed if I were this guy. What kind of man can't do a mere 30 pushups? I was in the Army and could pump out 50 in two minutes. And I'm a stick-thin, 120 lb soak-and-wet female. It's not like these physical fitness tests are a surprise either. It's very likely that this guy had months to prepare for it. I'd bet that this is a guy who didn't train for the test and is now whining because he failed to meet the standard. Typical reaction these days. "I didn't make it. Boo hoo. I'm going to sue." And, yes, potential agents are allowed to take the PFT again, but have to wait a certain length of time in between tests. It's either 60 or 90 days. Of course we aren't given the whole story, though. He probably failed the second test as well. The female, who scored poorly on firearms -- but didn't fail it, a fact that was left out of the article to induce a reaction -- was given another chance at the PFT because that is standard protocol for all potential agents.

Another thing... if he was actually in training at Quantico, he would be given another PFT upon arrival. They are tested during the first, seventh, and fourteenth week, and you have to pass all of them. If he passed his initial PFT to qualify for a slot at Quantico, but then didn't pass the PFT once he got there, that's his own dang fault. It's not the FBI's fault for enforcing its standards; it's his fault for failing to meet them. There could have been quite a long gap in between his initial PFT and his class date at Quantico. I've known people who have had to wait up to a year. During that year, you can't be lazy; you still have to meet all of the physical requirements once you start training.

April 12 2012 at 12:14 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Marty's comment
Thumper

What kind of man can't do push-ups?
I can't. Does that make me less of a man?
I think not. But your rhetoric doesn't even take into account many other aspects of 'why'...
I can't do them because of wounds received fighting in the military, but I bet you I can do all the rest of the PFT. So, does that still qualify me as "what kind of a man..." by your standards?

April 12 2012 at 12:57 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Thumper's comment
Marty

As one military member to another, I thank you for your service. I am sorry you received wounds that don't allow you to perform certain actions.

Common sense would dictate that this man had no such wounds, however. If he did, you can be sure that it would have been mentioned in the article. Think of the controversy and sensationalism that would cause: military veteran dismissed from FBI training because war wounds made it impossible to meet standards. The press would have a field day with that. Furthermore, he wouldn't even qualify to apply for the position. From fbijobs.gov: applicants must be in "excellent physical condition with no disabilities which would interfere in firearm use, raids, or defensive tactics." Would a disability that wouldn't allow a person to perform pushups interfere with firearm use, raids, or defensive tactics? Absolutely. So your entire point is completely moot.

Although I have tremendous respect for those brave enough to serve our country in the Armed Forces, I don't have much respect for those that like to ignore common sense and try to make something out of nothing. I didn't think I had to clarify the "what kind of a man" statement, but I guess I do. What kind of a man WHO IS APPLYING FOR A PHYSICALLY DEMANDING JOB WITH SPECIFIC, PHYSICALLY DEMANDING REQUIREMENTS can't do 30 pushups? Better?

April 12 2012 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Marty

To answer your question, no, it doesn't make you less of a man. It doesn't make you less of a man, but it does make you unqualified to apply for this position. And my rhetoric doesn't take into account any other "why" aspects because most, if not all, of those other aspects would also disqualify an applicant. So once again, your the point you were trying to make is moot.

April 12 2012 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
lklex

This happens quite frequently in the field of law enforcement. Women are allowed to qualify with lower standards and are given preferential treatment. It's all about special treatment, feminism and political correctness. Nevermind that it's discriminatory and repugnant to any notion of gender equity.

April 12 2012 at 12:12 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
thosholzel

Of all places, there is a HUGE bias in favor of women in the military and the federal law enforcement agencies--all because the head of the DOD a whike back was a woman Senator (the name escapes me).

The regnant liberal ideology is that because women can do anything that men can, there is no reason to exclude them unfairly. Of course never mentioned is that they can't. Nearly all the strength tests for women are a shadow of the same ones for men. Running speed is the same--women are just not as fast as men--and never will be. (Look at the speed differential in the Marathon winner finishing times--flat as a board for the past 15 years--with men consistantly running about 10 minutes faster.

But then, when have mere facts ever stopped a left-winger on an ideological rampage?

April 12 2012 at 11:20 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ebuist1825

If I were the FBI training supervisor, I'd be far more concerned that a trainee, male or female, could shoot straight, rather than do 30 push-ups!

April 12 2012 at 10:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ebuist1825's comment
Marty

Standards are standards. If you fail to meet the standards, whatever they may be, you have no right to whine. And did you notice that the female scored poorly, but didn't fail? And that nothing about the male's firearms score was written? For all we know, he scored poorly there as well. Typical journalism these days. No facts, but plenty of what will cause the most controversy.

April 12 2012 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard

This only the begining.

April 12 2012 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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