Women reapply to be Chicago firefighters after suing the city

May 6, 2013 3:13:47 PM PDT
Dozens of women who were denied the chance to become Chicago firefighters were reapplying Monday morning.

Some Chicago women waited years for this day.

"I've been anticipating this day ever since i got the letter," applicant Lone Williams said. "So it's been really exciting and I'm glad I'm getting this opportunity."

The women reached a tentative settlement with the city in a class action lawsuit.

About seventy women who passed a screening test to become firefighters in 2006 are moving forward with their applications now.

In order to be accepted into the academy, applicants have to pass the physical abilities test.

The lawsuit alleged the test was discriminatory because the applicants were never given scores or benchmarks for success.

The city has agreed to use a new test where simulated firefighting tasks are performed and specific scores are given.

"It's joy that they've come to the realization that we can do this," applicant Ellen Shevlin said.

"Everyone is very happy," applicant Samantha Eddy said. "Everyone is looking forward to training together and passing the CPAT and becoming wonderful firefighters."

One applicant we met left early.

Jeniene Woodford is among the more than forty members of the class action who no don't meet the age requirement of 38.

"I feel like I've been doubling discriminated against. Something should be done. The city shouldn't be able to do this," Woodford said.

"We couldn't get everything we wanted in the draft settlement," the attorney for the women's class action lawsuit Susan Malone said. "If we could get everything i would be surprised, but we certainly tried.

The department hopes to have its next training class at the Fire Academy in October.

If the women pass the drug, background and fitness test, they may be in that class to become Chicago firefighters.


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