This was (apparently) uttered by a sworn member of an elite anti-terrorist agency. Perhaps you’ve heard this one before as well: “Women will never be able to do what men can do so they should have different standards.”
(I hope the bad guys don’t get the memo that says we won’t send older, smaller, or female officers to a call where they may be over-matched; it’s better to keep them guessing!)
Thankfully, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office of Federal Operations affirmed “there is nothing inherently age-related in the requirement for physical fitness testing.” It stands to reason a similar argument can be made for sex as well.
The Complainant in the matter, a Nuclear Materials Courier/Federal Agent, 0084,NV-1 with Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, Office of Secure Transportation (OST), filed an appeal with the EEOC in April 2016 pursuant to a final decision (March, 2016) concerning his EEO complaint alleging employment discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).
Beginning in September 2014 OST Federal Agents were required to undergo and to pass “physical fitness testing”. The Complainant failed the test and was required to participate in remedial training. In March 2015, the Complainant filed an EEO complaint alleging the agency discriminated against him due to his age (44). He further alleged harassment and eventual injury. “The decision concluded that complainant failed to prove that the Agency subjected him to discrimination as alleged.”
The September 2018 appeal decision was issued without hearing and concluded there is no evidence of age-related harassment or discrimination; the Complainant also failed to show he was treated less favorably than his younger colleagues. The decision states in part:
“Apparently, Complainant believes he is entitled to be held to a less demanding physical standard than his younger colleagues. We are unaware of any authority supporting Complainant’s claim his is entitled to preferential treatment because of his age.”
It would appear law caught up with logic and reason and the demands of the job ruled the day. Law enforcement officers may be confronted with essential, non-negotiable physical tasks which must be performed without warning or opportunity to prepare, or to hand off to a younger, stronger, or male officer. Competing social interests should not countermand agency mission.