Physical Readiness Tests & Standards: Issue #1


All public safety employers must ensure a safe and effective workforce during all phases of the career-span from selection until retirement. However, it is illegal to discriminate against any person because of their race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. State and federal mandates cover all aspects of employment. 

Employers should know: The use of tests and other procedures can be effective tools to apply to human capital decisions. These tools can also violate anti-discrimination laws if an employer uses them to intentionally discriminate OR if they disproportionately exclude people in any protected group. 

Disparate impact exists if the selection rate for any group is less than four-fifths (4/5ths) or eighty percent (80%) of the selection rate for the group with the highest selection rate. For example, if 90% of the men pass a given test, the test will demonstrate disparate impact if the success rate for the women is less than 72% (90% x 80% = 72%.)

FitForce Position: The Uniform Guidelines apply to employee selection procedures which are used in making decisions related to hiring, retention, promotion, transfer, demotion, dismissal, or referral. While validation of selection procedures is desirable, the Guidelines only require validity evidence when the selection procedure adversely affects the opportunities of a race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. Because tests of physical ability are more likely than some other procedures to have an adverse impact, FitForce strongly recommends agencies undertake a validation study in advance of adopting new selection procedures.