HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A federal complaint alleges that CSX Transportation in West Virginia followed unlawful hiring practices to discriminate against women.

The Herald-Dispatch reports that the lawsuit filed in federal court in Huntington by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that a physical capability test administered to applicants excludes women from being hired at CSX’s facilities in Huntington and around the country.

The case was filed after applicant Amanda Hutchinson said she was awarded a job at CSX, but was then terminated due to her performance in a physical capability test.

The EEOC claims the physical examination requirement violates Title VII the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and is asking the court order CSX to stop the tests as a condition of employment.

“CSX Transportation Inc. has subjected Ms. Hutchinson and a class of aggrieved female employees and job applicants to sex discriminatory physical abilities testing that resulted in those employees and job applicants being denied employment opportunities because of their sex,” the complaint said.

According the complaint, applicants must pass an isokinetic strength test, a 3-minute step test and an arm ergometer test to test arm muscle strength and endurance.

The isokinetic test measures upper and lower body strength. Passing scores based on gender are divided into the groups “heavy” or “medium heavy,” depending on the position. Jobs requiring “heavy” scores had a passage rate of 87 percent for men and 30 percent for women in more than 13,000 tests given by the company since 2008.

In the “medium heavy” category, men achieved a 94 percent passage rate, while only 47 percent of women passed.

On the ergometer test, 98 percent of men passed over a two-year period, while 83 percent of women passed. And on the step test measuring aerobic abilities, men passed at a rate of 97 percent, compared with 67 percent for women.

The jobs requiring the tests include conductors, material handlers, signal maintainers, track workers, and various utility and electrician positions.

The EEOC and CSX were unable to agree on steps to remedy the hiring practices before the lawsuit was filed, according to the complaint.


Information from: The Herald-Dispatch, http://www.herald-dispatch.com