EEOC Sues CSX Over Employment Tests

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued CSX this week, alleging that it has been discriminating against women by using a physical strength test to determine employment eligibility.

The EEOC accused CSX of conducting isokinetic strength testing as a requirement for such jobs as conductor or material handler.

The agency contends that those tests have a discriminatory effect on women because they pass them at significantly lower rates than men.

The lawsuit also charges that women have had lower passing rates on tests measuring aerobic capacity and arm endurance.

Because of the test results, “CSX declined to hire a class of women workers for a range of jobs they sought . . . and the effect of the company testing practices has been to discriminate against women workers because of their sex,” the suit said adding that such testing is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The lawsuit was filed in a West Virginia federal court after the EEOC failed to reach a pre-litigation settlement with CSX.

The suit seeks injunctive relief and court-ordered job instatement as well as payment of monetary remedies in the form of past and future lost wages and benefits to the class of female workers adversely affected by CSX’s testing.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle said in response that “CSX is committed to its obligations under the law, including federal antidiscrimination laws, and the company will defend its rigorous attention to inclusiveness and safety. Equal employment opportunity and the safety of our employees make up the foundation of our core values and business practices. Both work hand-in-hand to ensure our employees are in an inclusive environment where they can contribute to the best of their abilities and return home safely every day.”

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