HUNTINGTON, W.V.  – CSX Transportation, Inc., a leading provider of transportation services, is currently facing a massive gender discrimination suit alleging the transportation giant discriminated against its female employees throughout the eastern half of the United States. According to the suit, CSX employed “strength tests” as part of the application process for certain positions at CSX, such as conductor or material handler. As it turns out, these strength tests had a disparate impact on female employees, with many females failing to qualify for the positions based on strength and not able to perform the job.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has filed suit against CSX on behalf of CSX’s female employees. Since at least 2008, CSX has used isokinetic strength tests known as IPCS Biodex. These tests purport to measure upper and lower body muscle strength. The EEOC argues that the females who have taken the test pass at significantly lower rates when compared to their male counterparts. Further, CSX used two other employment tests, to measure aerobic capacity and one testing arm endurance, which females passed at significantly lower rates than their male counterparts also.

The EEOC complaint states that CSX declined to hire an entire class of women workers for jobs because they failed these tests, allowing the company to discriminate against women because of their sex. Such conduct is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex-based discrimination. Title VII protects individuals, not only from discrimination while one is on the job, but also discrimination in hiring, firing, and promotion. Title VII doesn’t exactly prohibit employment practices such as CSX’s tests, however, if those tests have the effect of discriminating against an individual based on their sex, then an individual may make a claim of employment discrimination.

Under Title VII, when a company uses tests that are discriminatory as applied, then the employer must prove that those practices are necessary for the safe and efficient performance of the specific jobs for which the tests are used. However, even if the company can prove that the tests are necessary, they must also prove that there is not an alternative test that could achieve the desired objective but have a less discriminatory effect.

Rob Doolittle, a spokesman for CSX, released a statement reiterating that CSX is committed to following its obligations under the law and will defend against any allegations of discrimination. Doolittle wants to make it clear that CSX has no desire to discriminate against its female employees and upholds that these tests are necessary, and a part of CSX’s commitment to safety.

The EEOC has filed their suit in the Southern District of West Virginia after attempting pre-litigation settlement through the proper channels. They are seeking injunctive relief, to prohibit further discriminatory practices, along with compulsive hiring and monetary damages for the lost wages of its female employees. This type of discrimination is not only prohibited under Federal law but also in various state laws.

The New York City Human Rights Law along with the New York State Human Rights Law also prohibits discrimination based on gender or sex. The skilled New York City sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC, have years of experience bringing claims of gender discrimination on behalf of our clients. Working closely with our Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys, we have recovered millions on behalf of our clients who were discriminated against because of their sex. If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your sex, please give our talented attorneys a call, toll-free, at (800) 807-2209.