1. #1
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    Default IAFF CPAT Law suit

    Austin TX just cancelled their current hiring process.

    We were months into the process
    3000 applicants
    Over two million dollars spent testing and performing oral interviews

    There were a few issues with the current hiring process but it appears that the reason the city decided to trash it was due to a law suit supported by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. A female applicant filed a law suit do to her inability to make the time on the CPAT.

    We were using the IAFF standard physical testing.

    Personally, I'm disappointed and disgusted

    Thought you folks might want a heads up. Depending on the ruling it could set precedence.

  2. #2
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    There are plenty of candidates who pass the CPAT within the time frame. They just happen to be women... and fyi, men flunk it, too!

    Austin and the Texas EOCC should check around other FD's within Texas anbd other states to see how many women passed the CPAT.

    Someone should have trained a little bit harder....
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Gonzo,

    I'm not criticizing the CPAT. Austin city management and AFD are well aware of standards used around the nation. That's why they went with the CPAT.

    I'm disgusted with the garbage going on in an effort to be PC these days and its effects on the service and the tax payer.

    We have great women working for us. Our department has over 1200 fire fighters and is working hard to create a diverse work force.

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    Gonzo,

    The reason they trashed it is because if they don't create a list they only deal with a single law suit.

    If the list is created they have the potential for every failing female to hop on the band wagon.

    They are attempting to cut their losses. I suppose they could fight it and continue the process. They obviously thought this was too risky.

    I think they may want to fight this single case in order to provide a precedence. If the city wins they can go back to the CPAT.

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    If you dont pass the cpat you should not be hired. It puts you, your crew, and the possible rescue paitents at risk.


    The cpat is based on the gear weight used and tasks performed.

    A good fire back would be to post the natl facts of how many women passed the test. EOEE would have to open their eyes.
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    What a joke. Also if this lady wins I think it could really set women back in there stive for equality. Hey like they say you can't have your cake and it too.
    This is my opinion and in no way represtents the opinion of my department.

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    I don't want this post to reflect negatively on the great women we have working for us. We have females that stick up for tough standards and understand the physical fitness realities of the job.

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    This story happens to be about a female applicant. . . But in reality would this applicant getting preferential treatment open it up for ANY (male or female) applicant to sue if they failed?

    It seemed this type of lawsuit was inevitable.

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    for what its worth the cpat was approved by the justice dept as non-discriminatory. But some jurisdictions still see it as biased against women. In Cali there is a great deal of outreach to pepare folks prior to the testing. You can bring them to water ...

    Hi Nail hope all is well

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    Ive taken many cpat and variations of the test. It is hard for everyone, not just women. Anyone who cant pass test's that simulate fire ground conditions should not be a firefighter. Its that simple. To be a emt or paramedic you have to pass practical test that show you are able to perfrm your job. And physically being able to drag,lift, climb,chop, and handle a charged hose is our job. Strength is not all that is needed you must have the knowledge to do your job also, you cant have one with out the other.It's better to find out in a test setting that you dont have what it takes, then when peoples lives are in your hands. In my standards class we started with four women, only one made it to the end. We also lost six guys too. I took a test with Volusia county before I came to Iraq, if I remember correctly six women tested and only one finished, alot of guys failed too. The test is not biased though, everyone has to pass it. I also think that once you pass it and get on a Department, you should have to pass it again at least once a year.

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    It seems to me that we are usually surprised when a new hire is in decent physical shape. A paramedic license is way more important (these days) than being able to walk on a treadmill wearing a lead vest. I remember when I was 18-20 years old running laps at the track every other day for months "preparing" for FF tests. The physical test for my current FD was a joke. It consisted of 7 or so FF related skill stations, with 3 optional "rest periods" in between. You could eat a sandwich while you did the test, and I imagine some people probably would.

    The days of the 6'2" broad shoulder FF are over around here, giving way to the 5'6" 150lb FF that was hired over the 6'2" FF because he has a medic license. Which isn't good when the average EMS patient weighs approx 300lbs, so the pumper goes on most EMS calls just to "remove" the patient from the 2nd floor bathroom......where are my happy pills?

    Just my observation.

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    Before I post, I want it understood that I believe CPAT is a well designed test that mimics fireground tasks. To translate: I AIN'T ANTI-CPAT.

    Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I've got a question. Does anyone know if CPAT been previously challenged in federal court?

    Any test that shows adverse impact on a protected class has an uphill fight. In short, when adverse impact exists the burden of proof falls on the shoulders of the employer to prove the test instrument is valid. You're basically considered guilty and it is up to you to prove your innocence. If the case is in front of a liberal judge, severe adverse impact is pretty much prima facie evidence of discrimination.

    If she's got a liberal judge and no precedent exists, she probably has a very good chance at the trial court level. That doesn't mean CPAT would die - thankfully the judges with the final say have taken a fairer view of the process. Still, a victory at the trial court level could cause major confusion for years to come.

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    Philly no longer has a physical component of its hiring process. They also removed math and science related questions from the written test. Guess why.....
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    I have taken one CPAT test so far and failed the first station due not warming up properly. I'm not against the CPAT, I feel that a standard test is a great idea. But I always have one question whether it is a CPAT, or modified combat challange, whatever the dept may call there physical test, and that question is when would one firefighter do ALL of them tasks in a 10 minute time frame on the fire ground? just a question that comes to mind.

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    Philly no longer has a physical component of its hiring process. They also removed math and science related questions from the written test. Guess why.....
    Hmmmmmmmmmmmm
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    It seems to me that we are usually surprised when a new hire is in decent physical shape. A paramedic license is way more important
    Same here.

    And, Im probably in the minority, but I dont like CPAT. I think its more of an athletic event then anything else. I liked my departments old abilities test, I think it was more "fire ground" like.
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    Firefighters die too often of cardiac problems brought on by poor health habits - but they also die even after a CPAT and the yearly exams are done. My point: there is no answer! That means that there are good answers but not great ones. CPAT is decent - but so are a number of other solutions.
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    SON044,

    Doing well. Staying busy. Trying to get some time in my cabinet shop. No time to make any extra money, but it's a good stress releaver and feels good to turn something out every now and then.

    Hope all is well with you and yours.

    Dave,

    And, Im probably in the minority, but I dont like CPAT. I think its more of an athletic event then anything else. I liked my departments old abilities test, I think it was more "fire ground" like.
    I don't really care either way about how they do the physical test as long as it's appropriate to the job and implemented equally. From what I've heard this gal passed our physical abilities test in a prior aplication period before we went to the CPAT.

    EFD840,

    I think your post was on the money. I'd also like to know if the test has been challenged yet. If anyone has any info it might help.

    PYSICAL COMPONENT OF THE JOB:

    I agree with the folks talking about us working as EMT's and Medics.

    I still think the physical component of the job should be stressed. We may not Have these type of challenges on a regular basis but it is inevitable that one is around the corner somewhere. We train hard for the tough times. We all know when the crap hits the fan either fighting fire or performing rescues it takes everything we have. It's not uncommon for downed fire fighters in full gear and an extra air pack to weigh in at more than three hundred pounds.

    Fighting fires and performing rescues is a tough job. Forsaking minimum standards to be PC doesn't help us or the tax payers.

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    By thrashing the test this far into it, the City of Austin has not stopped the bleeding, they will be sued by others who passed the test and this problem is just beginning for them, just because they caved to a special interest group. Hope she makes a great employee. A prediction, if she gets hired, she will be on light duty within two years and filing for a disability with in 5 years. Not knocking women in the fire service, my comments are only directed to this woman in Austin.


    Just an opinion



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    This is not pointed to women, but to anyone who cannot pass the CPAT...

    The test was designed to simulate the job we do in a controlled environment. Do you really want someone (regardless of gender) backing you up when they cannot adequately perform the physical duties required?

    I have heard that the CPAT has been unsuccessfully challenged in law suits in the past. I do not know of any particular cases, but I heard that from a very reliable source.
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    Okay, two comments here. One of them is that there is a national standard that both the IAFC and the IAFF agreed upon, one which was based on job function as well as specific areas of concern. Our department decided not to go with this program...still don't know why. We still have the old CPAT. We also still have fat, pot-bellied, chain-smoking, high-cholestoral totin, can't take a step without fallin down in respiratory distress having firefighters.

    Regardless of what you choose to do to test applicants, it isn't going to amount to a hill of beans if you don't continue to monitor health and wellness. IMHO

    Secondly. I am a woman. My father in law was a battalion chief of a nieghboring department when I made my choice to become a ff. He, a big barrel chested bear of a man, felt that women did not belong in the fire service, but seeing my resolve set out to ensure that I understood what I was getting myself into. He helped me to design a workout progrom, which included making me do pull ups in the gym in front of everyone (trust me - nothing is a greater incentive than embarassment! by the time I got to fire school I could do more pull ups than most of the guys! `grinz). He also had me run the stadium with wieghts above my shoulder, saying things like - "no one is going to get that ladder off of the truck for you just cause your a girl". He baited me and drove me crazy.

    But when the time came for the test I kicked butt at it. On that occasion for fire school, as well as during the hiring process for two departments, I saw ~gasp~ men not only fail, but quit. And I can tell you that I was more disgusted seeing a guy quit than anything I have ever seen in my life. I didn't care if it took me fifty minutes, I would never have quit. The point I am trying to make here is that it doesn't matter if the candidate is male or female. Either you have the heart and the strength or you don't. Taking it to court won't change that.
    Last edited by Emberxx; 08-02-2005 at 07:16 PM.

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    Default I agree...

    I agree with Emberxx.
    I too am a female, and I have not taken any tests, yet, but I hope to soon. I'm still in EMT school, but I guarantee you that I want to be held to the same standards as the men. I don't want special treatment. If I'm going to do the job, I want to be held to the same standards as the men. I wouldn't want someone who had a different test out there with me. I want to know that everyone else did the same things that I did to get hired. Also if at any time after I get hired on somewhere, I feel that I can no longer do the job to the same standards, I will either move on or fix the problem. I don't want to become a liability.

    Edited to add: I also want the satisfaction of knowing that I did it just as well as the guys were expected to, and possibly even better than some of them.

    On a side note:
    This is the definition of equality from the American Heritage dictionary:

    Main Entry: equal·i·ty
    Function: noun
    : the quality or state of being equal: as a : sameness or equivalence in number, quantity, or measure b : likeness or sameness in quality, power, status, or degree

    I don't see anything in there about changing the rules because of your gender.
    Last edited by kelfr25; 08-05-2005 at 12:25 AM.

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    Yes - having someone change the rules so that a female can compete on an "even playing field"...isn't that kind of like your parents going into school and confronting the bully for you? Personally I'd rather just punch him in the nose and get it over with!
    "When you throw dirt, you lose ground."

    IACOJ

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    I'm gettig the picture that most people fell that this is a joke law-suit. Well I have to agree. Its outragous, the CPAT is designed for both men and women so that we don't have this problem. I have taken the CPAT 3 times and its not an easy test. In my experiences you have to work hard to pass it. You can't just show up that day and expect to pass it. I know of a lot of Men who have not passed the test. I know that there are women who don't pass either. So if she thinks that its a test that women can't pass she is dead wrong, I know of women who have passed the test. I think that some people are just Sue happy these days. If she wouldn't have gotten hired she probally would have Sued because she didn't think the interview was fair. So either way she probally wouldn't have been happy.

    This is a BIG JOKE and she needs to let it go. She probally wasn't in good enough shape.

    Also there is plenty of time to do the test. I mean I'm not in the greatest shape anymore and I can have up to close too 2 min. left on the time. So the time isn't an issue.

    I also noticed some of you are talking about an even playing field well guess what the gear weighs the same from a man to a woman its about 50 pounds. They don't make special gear for women. When that happens then we can adjust the test. They want to be equal but we need to bend the rules for them, I don't think so. We shouldn't have to change the test for women because the things involved in the test can't be chaged, you can't chage the weight of a chain saw or the weight of our gear.

    So an even playing field I think it is already even.

    Stay Safe

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    I also noticed some of you are talking about an even playing field well guess what the gear weighs the same from a man to a woman its about 50 pounds. They don't make special gear for women. When that happens then we can adjust the test. They want to be equal but we need to bend the rules for them, I don't think so. We shouldn't have to change the test for women because the things involved in the test can't be chaged, you can't chage the weight of a chain saw or the weight of our gear.

    ************************************************** ****************

    I think that everyone here agrees that this is not a winnable lawsuit. I think that we can all agree that women should be required to complete the same challenges that men are seeing as how they are going to be performing the same tasks men are on fire and rescue scenes.

    But one thing I don't understand about your comments, and maybe I just misunderstood...but what does the gear have to do with an even playing field?

    If there was such as a thing as female gear that was lighter and that still performed in a fire then you could bet your sweet bippy that there would be some female gear wearin firemen at my dept!

    ~Taking a deep breath~ And...I'm probably going to regret this...but here goes anyway:

    The fire department is not, and never will be, a level playing field for women. And that is because we are required to perform to a higher standard than the men. Every single firefighter on this forum knows that's true, whether they want to admit it or not, but women are under intense scrutiny from the word go.

    Now let me make it clear that we know this going in, and we live with it and don't argue with it and maybe it makes us better people and better firefighters - but it's a fact. Soooo, just keep that in mind when we keep referring to the equality thing.

    ~sighing...sitting back and waiting for the fur to fly~
    "When you throw dirt, you lose ground."

    IACOJ

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