An intelligence analyst with the FBI in Chicago is suing the agency for gender discrimination, after he was allegedly disqualified from becoming a special agent by one push-up.
Jay Bauer, a Northwestern University doctoral graduate, has been with the FBI since 2009. He scored near or at the top of his class in everything from firearms training to academics during his new-agent training, according to the lawsuit, but was forced to resign from special agent training after he only managed to do 29 of the required thirty push-ups.
The special agent fitness training reportedly requires of men: 38 sit ups in one minute, 30 untimed push-ups, a 300 meter sprint in 52.4 seconds, and 1.5 miles in 12 minutes and 24 seconds. Click here for a more detailed breakdown of how the FBI judges candidates.
Bauer is claiming gender discrimination because, among other things, a female trainee who scored near the bottom of her class in firearms training was reportedly given a second chance at the push-ups, when he wasn't. He also argues that the FBI standards are disproportionately harder for males than females-- for instance, women only have to do 14 untimed push-ups, which experts say are the rough equivalent of 27-29 for men.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Bauer has been challenging the FBI's decision through the administrative courts for the past two years, since he didn't think it appropriate to take the matter to the federal courts.
His attorney explained, "Given what is occurring in this world today and the fact this case is about one pushup, it does not feel right (to file a lawsuit)."
But apparently Bauer has changed his mind. In a case filed last week with the federal court, the man asked that he be made a special agent with back pay, and that the Justice Department pay his attorneys' fees and damages.
"My client is a reluctant plaintiff," Bauer's attorney said, "[but] he feels compelled to fight for what's right here."
Reports have not explained why Bauer chose to fight the matter for years, rather than re-take the test once he was again eligible.