Trucking Company Settles Claim that Mandatory Policy Requiring Strength Tests Adversely Affected Certain Applicants

Friday, September 25, 2015

Central Refrigerated Service has agreed to settle a sex and age discrimination charge filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The Utah-based trucking company was acquired by Swift Transportation in 2013.

This settlement resolves claims that applicants to truck driver positions at Central Refrigerated Service's Fontana, Calif., facility who were female or over 40 years of age were allegedly adversely affected by a mandatory policy requiring them to take strength exams which EEOC said were not indica­tive of the strength level required for the positions.  The exams were administered by WorkWell, Inc., a third-party vendor no longer used by the company.  The EEOC charge alleged that the com­pany's practice discriminated against women and older applicants who were ultimately not hired as a result of not passing the exam.

Upon acquisition by Swift Transportation, Central Refrigerated Service adopted Swift Transportation's hiring policies, which do not require any strength or lifting exams.

EEOC and Central Refrigerated Service reached a three-year negotiated settlement agreement, although Central has made clear that it does not admit liability, but rather settled the matter because the WorkWell process had long ago been discarded by the company.  Central agreed to an injunction precluding the use of WorkWell strength exams as a condition of employment.  The company also agreed to maintain its anti-discrimination policies and post to an employee-accessible intranet platform for all current Central employees.  The parties further agreed to the distribution of a public press release on the matter.

Eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring, especially class-based recruitment and hiring practices that discriminate against racial, ethnic and religious groups, older workers, women and people with disabilities, is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforce­ment Plan (SEP). 

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