Friday, August 04, 2017

EEOC sues CSX over sex discrimination

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During World War II, the railroads hired some 100,000 women to perform the same tasks as the men who had gone off to war. They performed equally well as the men and helped keep the railroads moving in support of the war effort. During World War II, the railroads hired some 100,000 women to perform the same tasks as the men who had gone off to war. They performed equally well as the men and helped keep the railroads moving in support of the war effort.

CSX’s situation continues to get tougher. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Aug. 2 filed a lawsuit against the railroad, claiming that it has been discriminating against women by using a physical strength test to determine employment eligibility.

EEOC’s legal action occurred the same day as a hazmat derailment in Pennsylvania, and a few days after the Surface Transportation Board sent a letter to CEO Hunter Harrison asking him to address what it termed “deteriorating service.”

We Can Do ItIn the lawsuit, EEOC (a federal agency) accuses CSX of conducting isokinetic strength testing as a requirement for such jobs as conductor or material handler. Those tests, the agency said, has a discriminatory effect on women, who have been passing them at significantly lower rates than men. Women have also had lower passing rates on tests measuring aerobic capacity and arm endurance, the lawsuit said.

Because of the test results, “CSX declined to hire a class of women workers for a range of jobs they sought … and the effect of the company testing practices has been to discriminate against women workers because of their sex,” the suit said. Such testing is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

EEOC filed the suit in West Virginia after it failed to reach a pre-litigation settlement with CSX. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief and court-ordered job instatement as well as payment of monetary remedies in the form of past and future lost wages and benefits to the class of female workers adversely affected by CSX’s testing.

CSX spokesman Rob Doolittle released the following statement on Thursday, Aug. 4: “CSX is committed to its obligations under the law, including federal antidiscrimination laws, and the company will defend its rigorous attention to inclusiveness and safety. Equal employment opportunity and the safety of our employees make up the foundation of our core values and business practices. Both work hand-in-hand to ensure our employees are in an inclusive environment where they can contribute to the best of their abilities and return home safely every day.”

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