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Spain’s Supreme Court nixes height rule for women joining police force

The previous height requirement for female officers joining Spain’s police force was set at 5 feet 3 inches tall


An armed female police officer stands on a street in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.

Photo/Manu Fernandez for Associated Press

By Anne Berleant

MADRID — Spain’s Supreme Court threw out a “discriminatory” minimum height requirement for female officers on Monday.

The previous height requirement for female officers joining Spain’s police force, according to Reuters, was set at 5 feet 3 inches tall. A woman who filed the suit was barred from joining the force in 2017 after missing the mark by 1.5 inches.

The court said the police force gave no justification for the height requirement, which “constitutes an indirect discrimination against women compared to men whose required height is much less demanding, since the percentage of women [in Spain] below the threshold (25%) is much higher than the percentage of men (3%),” a court document said.

The court held that many police functions “require no special physical condition and even less a tall stature.”

Finally, the court ruled that if the plaintiff passed her exams, then the police force must hire her and pay her the same wages as if she’d been employed since 2017.

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