Berkman v. City of New York

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Determined whether New York City's physical exam for firefighting discriminated against women applicants for firefighting positions.

Full Case Title: 

Brenda Berkman, on behalf of herself and a class consisting of all similarly-situated women v. City of New York; Edward I. Koch, individually and as Mayor of the City of New York; et al., 812 F.2d 52 (2nd Cir. 1987)
  • Workplace Equality and Economic Empowerment


  • Sex-Based Classification
  • Joined Amicus Brief


New York City Firefighter Applicant Brenda Berkman sued the City of New York for violating Title VII, alleging gender discrimination in entry-level hiring of New York City firefighters. The District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that the City discriminated against women through its physical exam, which included tests that were biased against women and unrelated to the position.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, but reversed the orders that required appellants to use a particular scoring system.