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Press Release 09-29-2021

Schuster Company Agrees to Stop Using Strength Test to Settle EEOC Sex Discrimination Lawsuit

In Another Blow to Strength Test Developer Cost Reduction Technologies, Trucking Company Will Stop Using Test That EEOC Says Violates Federal Law

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Iowa-based trucking company Schuster Co. has agreed to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, Schuster’s use of the CRT test, a strength test developed by Davenport, Iowa-based Cost Reduction Technologies, Inc., discriminated against women truck drivers because of their sex. Specifically, the EEOC alleged that the CRT test disproportionately screens out women who are qualified for truck driver positions at Schuster and that the test did not accurately distinguish between individuals who could and could not safely perform the job.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination, including the use of employment practices that have a disparate impact on women because of their sex and that are not job-related and consistent with business necessity.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The case is captioned EEOC v. Schuster Co., Civil Action No. 5:19-cv-4063. This settlement follows a recent summary judgment victory for the EEOC in a similar case involving the CRT test, EEOC v. Stan Koch & Sons Trucking, Inc. (D. Minn. Civil Action No. 0:19-cv-2148).

The three-year consent decree resolving the EEOC’s lawsuit against Schuster has been approved by the federal court. The decree requires Schuster to pay monetary damages and make job offers to a class of women whose job offers were revoked by Schuster after they failed the CRT test. The decree enjoins Schuster from using the CRT test in the future, or any other physical abilities test with a disparate impact on female drivers unless Schuster can demonstrate that the test is job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity. The decree also requires Schuster to make regular reports to the EEOC regarding its hiring practices for the duration of the decree.

“Removing unnecessary barriers that exclude qualified women from traditionally male-dominated industries, such as the trucking industry, is a priority for the EEOC,” said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC's district director in Chicago. “We are pleased that Schuster has agreed to stop using the CRT test and take steps to address the harm that its use of the test caused to female applicants at Schuster.”

Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, added, “Employers that choose to use physical abilities tests must be aware of their obligations under the law. When a hiring screen has disparate impact on female applicants, the employer has the burden to prove that the test is job-related and consistent with business necessity. This can be a difficult task when the employer chooses to use a test like the CRT test, or other isokinetic tests that, in the EEOC’s view, have no obvious connection to the jobs at issue.”

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.