FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CR
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 1997                         (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department today sued the
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) for
discriminating against female transit police applicants by
requiring them to meet fitness standards that are unrelated to
successful job performance.

     The suit, filed today in U.S. District Court in
Philadelphia, charges that SEPTA violated Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 by requiring female applicants to meet
standards of fitness that have no bearing upon successful job
performance, and which serve to exclude qualified women from
becoming transit police officers.

     "The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that law
enforcement agencies use hiring procedures that are job-related
and select the most qualified candidates," said Isabelle Katz
Pinzler, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.
"Women have the right to an equal opportunity to compete for jobs
using job-related selection procedures that are fair and

     According to the Department's complaint, when SEPTA
administered the physical fitness test in October 1993, none of
the female applicants completed it successfully.  The complaint
asserts that alternative testing methods exist that can better
predict how successful someone will perform on the job and which
do not discriminate on the basis of sex.

     The Department asked the court to enter an order requiring
SEPTA to replace the discriminatory tests with lawful ones, and
to provide offers of employment, back pay, remedial seniority and
other employment benefits to women who have been affected by the