The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is not happy about the use of pre-employment physical testing for many applicants, and it is cracking down on employers who abuse these tests. While physical ability tests (PATs) are useful for certain job descriptions, they are often discriminatory, especially against women.
Hirschbach Motor Lines Settlement
Hirschbach Motor Lines, based in Iowa, recently agreed to pay $3.2 million to certain female applicants as part of an EEOC lawsuit claiming the company’s physical testing impacted female candidates. The company has over 1,000 drivers nationwide, and specializes in delivering fresh and frozen products across the country and into Mexico. The EEOC alleged that the company’s screenings violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Hirschbach Motor Line’s back assessment involved having applicant’s balance while on one leg and touch their toes while in that position. They were also asked to crawl. These applicants had previously received medical certification from the U.S. Department of Transportation allowing them to drive trucks. In addition, the company had a policy of not permitting drivers from returning to work after an injury until they were completely healed, which the EEOC asserts violates the ADA.
The Strategic Enforcement Plan
In 2017, the EEOC announced the development of its Strategic Enforcement Plan, which will focus on recruitment practices that discriminate not only against racial or religious groups, but women, older workers, and people with disabilities. Since that time, the EEOC has filed numerous lawsuits nationwide against employers who use illegal practice to discriminate against females and the disabled.
True PAT Tests
One problem with many of the PAT tests used by employers is that the tests do not reflect the physical skills actually needed by workers on the job. To make sure the tests accurately reflect the company’s needs, firms should hire a professional to analyze the physical abilities necessary for each position’s tasks. Once this information is obtained, PAT tests can either be used to reflect the actual type of work done on the job, or test a minimum fitness and strength level. Over time, job requirements change, so employers should review PAT tests periodically and see if they are adequate for the job’s current needs. It is the employer that must prove a PAT is a necessity for their business and continue to use it.
While these tests are often needed for certain jobs, they require proper validation for their usefulness. Even if business necessity exists, it is possible that a company’s PAT may be disallowed if there is other testing available that could provide the same information about an employee’s physical ability with fewer negative impacts.
Bucks County Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Those Facing Discrimination in the Workplace
If you are a victim of workplace discrimination, you need the services of the experienced Bucks County employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.