Jay Bauer, an intelligence agent for the FBI, alleges that one pushup kept him from becoming a special agent and has filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit, saying that the FBI’s fitness test is biased against men. Bauer joined the FBI in 2009 and had passed a fitness test, scoring at or near the highest in his class in everything from firearms training to academics, before entering new agent training. According to the lawsuit, his fellow trainees even chose him to be their class leader.
The Chicago Tribune reports that all trainees must complete another fitness test at the FBI Academy and men must complete 38 sit-ups in one minute and 30 untimed push-ups. Men must also sprint 300 meters in 52.4 seconds and run a mile and a half in 12 minutes and 24 seconds.
Allegedly, Bauer completed all requirements except that he only managed to perform 29 push-ups instead of 30. The lawsuit said he was forced to resign from special agent training because of the single missed push-up. Bauer took an analyst job for the FBI in Chicago where he had already relocated his wife and children.
Bauer’s attorney’s argue that a female classmate was given another chance at taking the fitness test after failing, but Bauer was not. His attorney’s also argued that the FBI’s fitness standards are harder for males than females.
A letter filed to an administrative judge by Bauer’s attorney said that, since Bauer has been offered a promotion in his current job, he would prefer a settlement conference with the FBI instead of going to court.
But Bauer didn’t feel as though he was getting heard fairly, filed his challenge in federal court last month, asking for a position as a special agent with back pay. He also requested that the Justice Department pay his attorney’s fees and damages.
A spokeswoman for the FBI said that the agency typically will not comment on litigation that is pending.