SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Fifteen veteran San Francisco firefighters will share $3.7 million awarded by a jury in their age discrimination suit against the city’s fire department.

The suit challenged the results of a 2008 promotional exam for lieutenant. After waiting for more than a decade to take the lieutenant’s exam, their years of experience and intense preparation, they did not make the cut.

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When they noticed that most of the successful candidates were less than 40 years of age, they went to civil rights attorney Murlene Randle.

“It was disproportionately those who had been doing the job, those who had experience didn’t make it and of course they immediately started to say, ‘there’s something’s wrong with this exam’,” Randle said.

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The award from the discrimination suit, filed in federal court, includes back pay, future pay and emotional distress.

“They heard our story and decided it was time to try do some justice and that was my thing throughout, was let’s get some justice here and some transparency hopefully in the future,” Randle said.

The firefighters claimed their scores were altered and evidence of the test doctoring was destroyed to make it hard for them to appeal. City officials had no comment on the verdict.

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