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Walmart Inc. will pay $20 million to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit and stop using a pre-employment test that allegedly disproportionately excluded female applicants, the agency said Thursday.
Walmart said in a statement that although it has agreed to discontinue the test, it believes it was nondiscriminatory.
The EEOC said in its statement that Walmart conducted the physical ability test, known as the PAT, as a requirement for applicants to be hired as order fillers at Walmart’s grocery distribution centers nationwide and that it disproportionately excluded female applicants.
It said this violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits tests that are administered to all applicants and employees regardless of sex, but have a discriminatory impact on a particular sex or any other demographic category.
The EEOC had filed suit against the company in U.S. District Court in London, Kentucky, in August, the statement said.
EEOC Regional Attorney Kenneth L. Bird said in a statement, “The parties were able to reach an early resolution of this case due to Walmart’s willingness to engage in settlement discussions. Distribution center jobs provide good career opportunities for women when sex-based barriers to hiring for those jobs are removed.”
Walmart said in its statement it introduced the test “based in part on the recommendation of the EEOC.
“The test was created and validated by third-party experts and designed to determine if applicants for the order filler position could perform the job requirements.
“We continue to believe that the test was non-discriminatory, however we have agreed to discontinue it, which is consistent with the company’s efforts to accelerate and streamline the hiring process across the business. We are glad we could reach an amicable resolution.”
A California food producer and distributor will pay $2 million to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity race discrimination lawsuit in which it was charged with refusing to hire non-Hispanic applicants for unskilled positions.