Kevin Walker really wants to be a firefighter. He doesn’t care that he is too old. The usual maximum age for a new recruit to the New York Fire Department is 35 and Walker is 47. It also doesn’t matter that he has failed the physical test not once, not twice, but three times!
Walker just wasn’t taking no for answer. Instead, he did what any other red-blooded American would do when they don’t get their way, he sued for the job!
Oh – and this isn’t the first time he’s sued the City Of New York over this issue.
The last time Walker sued, he was part of a larger class-action suit that argued the FDNY wasn’t fair in its hiring of minority applicants. That suit was successful and was settled in 2014. Walker won a settlement of $22,500 and the opportunity to become a “priority hire” despite his age when he passed the qualifying exam in 2013, but you could say struggled a bit at the physical exam. He failed three times. According to the city, the first was for “grasping at the wall or handrail three times” while on a stair machine. A week later, Walker failed again while on the stair machine, not even 20-seconds into the warmup, when he “fell or dismounted” three times. After complaining he deserved another shot, he was granted it, only to fail, yet again, by not completing the entire test in the allotted time period.
Walker was undeterred though. He filed another lawsuit in 2016 demanding that he be hired with full firefighter status AND seniority, based on when he claims he should have been hired. He claimed that the proctors of the test were determined to fail him and he wasn’t given a fair chance. It’s unclear to us how many chances he thinks he deserves.
The judge in the case wasn’t either, it seems.
In December of 2018, a judge dismissed Walker’s case, saying he “could not be hired because his eligibility under the civil service list had expired.” In essence, placing him in the department would be unconstitutional.
But the judge did leave a bit of an open door, telling Walker to take the test again.
How many chances should one person get?