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Trucking Company Settles Strength Exam Discrimination Case

September 25, 2015

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Central Refrigerated Service has agreed to settle a sex and age discrimination case filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission involving a mandatory strength exam for applicants.

The settlement resolves claims that applicants at Central Refrigerated Service’s facility in Fontana, Calif., who were female or over 40 years of age were allegedly discriminated against by a mandatory policy requiring them to take strength exams.

The EEOC determined the strength exam was not indicative of the strength level required for the positions and could therefore be considered a form of discrimination against women and older applicants who were not hired because of the results of the test. The tests were administered the third-party vendor, WorkWell, which is no longer used by the company.

The EEOC and Central Refrigerated Service, which was acquired by Swift Transportation in 2013, reached a three-year negotiated settlement agreement. Central is adamant that it is not admitting liability but is settling the case because the WorkWell process had already been discarded by the company.

"Physical agility tests for positions that do not require the same level of physical ability can run afoul of federal law," said Rosa M. Viramontes, district director of EEOC's Los Angeles District Office.  "We commend Central Refrigerated Service for shifting Central's policies to ensure that job applicants have equal access to employment going forward."

Central agreed to an injunction preventing the use of WorkWell strength exams as a condition of employment and also agreed to maintain its anti-discrimination policies and post to an employee-accessible intranet platform for all current Central employees.

"Central Refrigerated Service is committed to equal opportunity employment and non-discrimination in employment, said Mark Wilkey, Central’s general counsel. “We are pleased to work with EEOC to resolve this matter.”

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