San Francisco (CA) Firefighters Awarded $3.7M in Age-Bias Case

Fifteen firefighters were awarded $3.7 million by a jury that found the San Francisco (CA) Fire Department had discriminated against the firefighters based on their age when they were judged to have failed a promotional exam for lieutenant five years ago.

A report from SFGate ( indicated that the firefighters–three of whom have retired–accused the city of arbitrarily altering dozens of test scores to the 2008 test and shredding scoring documents before firefighters could file a legal challenge. They challenged the exam process was skewed against firefighters who were over 40 years old.

Questions surrounding fire department promotional exams, including tests for lieutenant, battalion chief and assistant chief, have dogged San Francisco since 2008, prompting a string of unresolved lawsuits. The one over the lieutenant’s test was the first to go to trial.

The firefighters had argued that the test’s answer key contained faulty information and that scores were changed by city officials in secret, without consulting the experts who prepared the key and outsiders who graded the exam.

Read more about the case resolution and the situation at



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