MINNEAPOLIS - A federal judge has ruled as a matter of law that Stan Koch & Sons Trucking violated federal law by using a strength test developed by Cost Reduction Technologies because it discriminates against women truck drivers, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today. Koch, headquartered in Minneapolis, is a family-owned trucking company with over 1,000 trucks which operates both nationally and on regional and local routes.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Koch's use of the CRT test, a 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.
The federal judge ruled in EEOC's favor 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 Koch 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 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 case is captioned EEOC v. Stan Koch & Sons Trucking, Inc., Civil Action No. 0:19-cv-02148. The EEOC is now entitled to relief for a class of women applicants who were rejected because they failed the CRT test. The amount of monetary damages owed to the women by Koch will be determined in further proceedings. The EEOC will also seek an injunction preventing Koch from continuing to use the test.
"Employers are allowed to use hiring screens and they are allowed to use physical abilities testing, when appropriate," said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago. "However, when a hiring screen has disparate impact on female applicants and employees, like the CRT test did at Koch, employers need to take a hard look at whether they can prove those tests are job-related and consistent with business necessity. The fact that a job requires some physical strength will not, by itself, justify the use of any particular physical ability test; the test has to actually fit the physical requirements of the job or be shown to predict an important job outcome. This case should serve as a reminder to employers of the importance of having a professionally designed, rigorous study showing a clear relationship between performance on a test and the employer's job."
Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago, added, "The women who failed the CRT test were qualified, experienced truck drivers who had successfully worked at other companies but were prevented from working at Koch, in effect, because of their gender. One of the priorities for EEOC is removing artificial barriers to employment, like the test used in this case, so we are very pleased with the court's decision finding that the test was not job-related and consistent with business necessity."
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.