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Job performance testing: an alternative to age discrimination

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 1987


DA VIES, P. O. and C. O. DOTSON. Job performance testing: an alternative to age discrimination. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 179–185, 1987. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act has raised the issue of Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications for employment in the public safety sector. Complicating the issue is the number of lawsuits filed for violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Physical performance testing as an alternative to arbitrary age limitations is considered for physically demanding tasks in fire fighting, law enforcement, and the military. Tests with criterion-related validity are presented that are useful for screening new applicants and for periodic re-evaluation of incumbents. Extensive testing in our laboratory, in concert with the literature review, support the observation that age is a poor predictor of performance across the full range of employment years. It is concluded that individuals who are otherwise healthy, with proper attention to their lifestyles, can develop and maintain the necessary physiological profile to successfully execute the duties of physically demanding jobs well into their advancing years.

©1987The American College of Sports Medicine