MINNEAPOLIS – A Minnesota-based trucking company has been ordered to settle a federal lawsuit after a court said it discriminated against women truck drivers because of their sex.
Stan Koch and Sons Trucking will pay $500,000 and furnish other relief to settle the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced on Wednesday.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Koch’s use of the CRT Test, an isokinetic strength test developed by Davenport, Iowa-based Cost Reduction Technologies, Inc., discriminated against women truck drivers because of their sex.
Specifically, the EEOC alleged that the CRT Test disproportionately screened out women who are qualified for truck driver positions at Koch.
“Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination, including the use of employment practices that have a disparate impact on women because of their sex and that are not job-related and consistent with business necessity,” an EEOC news release stated.
The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
The EEOC recently won a similar case against Iowa-based tucking company Schuster Co. for use of the same physical abilities test.
Prior to the parties coming to an agreement on damages and other equitable relief, a federal judge had ruled in the EEOC’s favor on liability, finding that the test disproportionately screened out women who had been given conditional offers of hire by Koch to work as truck drivers or who were already employed by the company and were required to take the test to return to work following an injury.
In addition, the judge found that Koch did not present evidence to show that the test was job-related and consistent with business necessity.
The five-year consent decree resolving the EEOC’s lawsuit against Koch was approved by Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer on Dec. 6.
The decree requires Koch to pay $500,000 in monetary damages and make job offers to a class of women whose job offers were revoked by Koch after they failed the CRT test.
The decree enjoins Koch from using the CRT test, and, if it chooses to use any other physical abilities test that has a disparate impact on female drivers, it must first demonstrate that the test is job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.
The decree also requires Koch to make regular reports to the EEOC regarding its hiring practices for the duration of the decree.
“Less than two months ago, on Oct. 22, the United States issued its National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality,” said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago.
“This case, where the court found that the use of an isokinetic strength test as an employment screen was unlawful because it had a negative impact on women and it was not shown to serve any legitimate purpose that benefited the company, is an example of the type of enforcement activity the EEOC will take to help fulfill the goal of ensuring economic security to American women.”
Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, added, “This case should serve as a reminder to employers that when they use a hiring screen they cannot rely on justifications like ‘It seemed like common sense’ or ‘Of course it’s better to have stronger employees if the job has some physical tasks.’ Employers have to demonstrate with valid evidence that the tests they use can actually predict the outcomes they are looking for.”