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Walmart To Pay $20 Million to Settle Sex Discrimination Case

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is settling its sex discrimination lawsuit against Walmart, Inc. The lawsuit alleged that the company’s use of a pre-employment test disproportionately screened out female applicants.

According to the lawsuit, Walmart required job applicants for certain positions in its grocery distribution centers to pass a physical ability test. The test prevented an unreasonable number of women from obtaining the position. According to the EEOC, Walmart’s test violated Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination. Tests administered to all applicants regardless of sex but which cause a discriminatory effect or impact on one sex are considered violations of Title VII. Employers must establish that the use of such tests is necessary for the safe and efficient accomplishment of the specific job. Even if such a test can be shown to be necessary, the test may still violate the law if there are less discriminatory means of achieving the employer’s goals.

The consent decree signed by Walmart and the EEOC will require Walmart to stop its use of this physical testing as well as pay the $20 million into a settlement fund to compensate female job applicants across the country for lost wages. The EEOC has set forth six national priorities aimed toward eliminating barriers in recruitment and hiring.