For more information please call  800.727.2766


Chicago Police Department Challenged on Sex Discrimination

Maureen Bresnahan has been with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) for over 10 years. She was valedictorian of her Police Academy class and she has a master’s degree in education. With a strong work history behind her, she applied for CPD’s Bomb Squad. Despite excellent scores on the aptitude test and the ability to complete the physical fitness exam in half of the allotted time, Ms. Bresnahan was not promoted.

Seventy-five candidates passed the aptitude test when she did. They were all interviewed. Two male officers had similar scores, one of them worked a desk job for the previous five years and had been cited for domestic violence. He was recommended for promotion. Interview notes reflect the evaluator’s comment that the male officer “lacks experience/training, but has the intelligence to learn.” In contrast, Ms. Bresnahan’s interview reflects high marks given to her by the evaluators for her intelligence. However, she was cut. “Best suited for clerical, office,” according to the evaluator’s notes cited in the lawsuit.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Ms. Bresnahan’s attorney believes that sexism is built into the promotions process with supervisors recommending promotions to “people who look like themselves.” When Ms. Bresnahan applied for her promotion, just eight of the 162 positions available in the CPD’s Special Functions were held by female officers with none of them working the Bomb Squad. This lawsuit is the second filed in March against CPD for sex discrimination. In the other lawsuit, a female lieutenant asserts that she was demoted because her supervisor did not want to see a woman in command of the Marine and Helicopter Unit.