73-Year Old Police Officer Loses Age Discrimination Claim

In the year 2000, at the age of 73, William Brophy applied for work as a City of Philadelphia police officer. He had previously been a police officer for the City, but left his position in 1953. In the years following his departure from the Department, he worked in various law enforcement capacities.

The Department initially accepted Brophy’s application, and sent him to the Philadelphia Police Academy for a ten-month training period. Brophy did not pass the required low-level light firearms test, nor did he complete the running test in the prescribed time. As a result, he did not graduate from the Academy and received no permanent appointment as a police officer.

Brophy filed a lawsuit against the City, alleging that his termination violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. A federal court of appeals upheld the dismissal of Brophy’s lawsuit.

The Appeals Court upheld the lower Court’s decision that Brophy was unable to show that he was qualified for the job. In particular, the lower Court had found that the qualification requirements with respect to low-level light shooting and physical fitness were reasonable ones that bore on the fitness of an individual to be a police officer.

Brophy v. City of Philadelphia Police Department, 2005 WL 1684675 (3rd Cir. 2005).

This article appears in the November 2005 issue