Pre-employment exams are regularly used to screen job applicants as a means to find the most suitable employees. Employers typically administer these exams to assess a potential employee’s physical fitness, health, personality traits among other qualities.
Although the screening process seems to make sense to match the most qualified employees to available job openings, pre-employment exams can sometimes cross the line by discriminating against job applicants based on sex, disability, race or other protected classes. Sometimes the tests given have nothing to do with the available job vacancy, giving some the impression that they have been eliminated as a candidate without good cause.
Last month, the EEOC settled a sex and age discrimination case involving a trucking company that required employment applicants to perform physical strength tests unrelated to job duties. The tests clearly discriminated against female and older applicants who were not applying for jobs requiring lifting or other physical duties. In a similar case, Target agreed to pay millions and scrap its pre-employment exams to resolve another EEOC finding that certain tests were not job-related or consistent with business necessity. These exams were found to be discriminatory to applicants with regard to race, sex and disability.
To combat widespread discrimination, the EEOC has been cracking down on employers utilizing pre-employment exams. They have set forth legal guidelines about the legality of pre-employment inquiries, exams and the timing of when certain exams are permissible. To avoid landing in the cross-hairs of an EEOC discrimination claim, employers are well-advised to carefully evaluate pre-employment exams used during the hiring process to determine the business necessity of the exam and whether the particular exam achieves the intended goal. If an employer does not structure the exam to comply with all applicable discrimination laws, the applicant may have grounds for a discrimination complaint.
If you believe that you have been a victim of discrimination when applying for work or during employment based on age, race, sex, gender, religion of disability, contact the employment law offices of Stoltze and Updegraff, PLC. for help today.
Source: JDSupra,”Recent EEOC Settlements A Reminder That Employers Face Substantial Liability If Pre-Employment Exams Are Not Job-Related”, accessed October 9, 2015.