Discrimination Action Says CSX Transportation Wrongfully Treated Female Job Applicants
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has named railroad giant CSX Transportation as a defendant in an employment discrimination lawsuit filed in federal district court in Huntington, West Virginia. The legal action says that the company, which operates across the eastern half of the United States, took action that had a disparate impact on a protected class of job applicants—women.
In the complaint, the EEOC said that CSX implemented a physical abilities test battery, known as an “isokinetic strength test,” in 2008, requiring that all candidates for certain jobs submit to the test. The EEOC alleges that women pass the test at significantly lower rates than male job applicants, and that CSX refused to hire an entire class of female workers because they failed the tests. CSX says that tests are designed to measure upper and lower body strength, as well as aerobic capacity, all physical necessities of the jobs in question.
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, if a test results in a discriminatory impact on an entire class of applicants, an employer must show that the skills or qualifications measured by the test are necessary for the safe and efficient performance of the specific positions for which the tests are conducted. Furthermore, even if it can be demonstrated that such qualifications are necessary, Title VII bans such testing if the employers’ goals can be attained with less discriminatory impact.
Under federal employment discrimination law, there are certain “protected classes,” such as women, minorities, the elderly and the disabled. Employers may not engage in discrimination against members of those protected classes, either in ways that manifest a discriminatory intent (an action meant to discriminate) or a discriminatory impact (actions that don’t target a specific individual(s), but have an impact on a class of individuals).
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