CSX pays $3.2M to settle EEOC suit over physical strength tests
- CSX Transportation, Inc. will pay $3.2 million to settle a class action suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency alleged that the company’s physical tests had an adverse impact on female workers and job applicants.
- EEOC said that since at least 2008, CSX used physical tests for current and potential employees in several job categories. The tests included upper body strength tests, cardio testing and an isokinetic strength test to measure aspects of upper and lower body muscular strength.
- One of the “heavy” passing scores revealed an 87% passing rate for men and 30% passing rate for women, according to the court filing; a “medium heavy” test showed a 94% passing rate for men and only a 47% rate for women. The charge alleges the testing adversely impacted women currently employed at CSX who were vying for promotions or transfers, as well as potential new hires.
Employers may generally set physical qualifications, so long as those criteria are job-related and consistent with business necessity.
Physical tests may be given, but EEOC takes the position that employers must adopt alternative tests if a different test would be just as effective at evaluating applicants but have less of an adverse impact on protected groups.
The commission also has warned that if an employer retains a third-party to conduct tests, the employer is still responsible for ensuring that the screenings comply with federal law.