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Settlement of discrimination suit gives women second chance to become a Chicago firefighter

Updated: May 4, 2013 7:42PM

One hundred and 40 women who were denied a chance to enter the Chicago Fire Department Academy seven years ago will have the opportunity on Monday to reapply, under terms of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed against the city by women who said the “physical abilities test” formerly required for would-be firefighters discriminated against most female applicants, one of their lawyers said Saturday.

The women had passed a written test for entry but were rejected from becoming firefighters after failing the physical test.

The city has agreed to switch to a different test of physical ability that lawyers representing the women say is fairer and now in wide use.

“This is an amazing opportunity for women who were passed over for positions as firefighters because of the old test,” said Marni Willenson, one of the lawyers representing the women who filed the lawsuit. “We hope that word gets out so that all of the 140 women who are still interested in becoming firefighters know to report to the fire academy on Monday to start this process anew. We are confident that women in Chciago will show that they are fully capable of performing the job of firefighter.”

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