A federal judge has approved Walmart Inc.’s $20 million settlement of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) lawsuit alleging its physical ability testing (PAT) for grocery order filler positions discriminated against female applicants.
U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell signed off on the settlement more than a month after the EEOC filed its lawsuit against Walmart (NYSE: WMT) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.
The EEOC claimed in its suit that Walmart’s pre-employment PAT is “not job-related” for the grocery order filler position.
As part of the settlement agreement, the retail giant agreed to discontinue the PAT for the position.
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the retail chain does not “tolerate discrimination” and introduced the PAT in 2010 based in part on the EEOC’s recommendation.
“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,” Hargrove said in a statement to FreightWaves. “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.”
Walmart, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, operates 44 grocery distribution centers nationwide. The settlement fund will pay lost wages to women across the country who were denied grocery order filler positions based on the PAT.
“Elimination of the PAT will allow more women to obtain a relatively high-paying entry-level position at one of these centers — a necessary first step toward advancement,” said Aimee L. McFerren, a senior trial attorney with the EEOC, in a statement.
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