The Corpus Christi, Texas police department (and the city itself) has come under fire recently for hiring practices that seem to violate employment discrimination laws. If true, the violations could also make the city and police department liable in a discrimination lawsuit, one that could give the victims a chance at compensatory awards.
The Justice Department investigated the Corpus Christi Police Department for their hiring practices from 2005 to 2011. During that time frame, only 12 females were hired as entry-level officers; meanwhile, 113 males were brought on board.
In a similar window (from 2005 to 2009), roughly 66% of males passed a physical test that was administered as part of hiring process. Only about 20% of females could pass the test, and the Justice Department says that the physical exercise did not give women a fair chance of completing the test.
2009 seems to be the low point, as only 7% of the police force was composed of women. City officials seemingly are not contesting the claims made by the Justice Department, with the assistant city manager saying that "we do not disagree with their major findings."
It seems clear that there is a significant gender gap at the Corpus Christi Police Department. Whether it was intentional or the test was simply made too difficult is irrelevant -- employers are not allowed to use procedures or practices that exclude potential employees based on certain factors (like race, sex or religion). In this case, it seems the test acted as a discriminatory barrier for women who wanted to work at the Corpus Christi Police Department.
Source: Houston Chronicle, "Texas city hit with police sex discrimination suit," Christopher Sherman, July 3, 2012