EEOC Cracks Down on Pre-Hire Employment Assessments

Posted on August 28, 2015

Earlier this week, the EEOC announced that Target has agreed to pay $2.8 million dollars to resolve a charge of discrimination related to the use of employment assessments that disproportionately screened out applicants for certain positions based on race and sex.   The EEOC took the position that the tests violated Title VII because they were not sufficiently job-related and consistent with business necessity.  The EEOC also found that a psychological assessment was a pre-employment medical examination that violated the ADA and that Target had violated record-keeping requirements by failing to maintain sufficient records to assess the impact of its hiring procedures.

As a part of the resolution, Target has agreed to discontinue use of these assessments, make changes to its applicant tracking systems, perform a predictive validity study for its other assessments for adverse impact based on race, ethnicity and gender, and to provide the EEOC with a summary of these studies on an annual basis.  Finally, Target agreed to bring on an outside consultant to provide at least two hours of training once a year to all personnel involved in the development of the assessments.

The lesson here is that employers need to be careful about any assessments used to screen out applicants for employment.  Just because they don’t directly address issues of race, ethnicity, gender, or disability does not mean that they don’t expose an employer to claims under Title VII or the ADA.


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