Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Jul 02, 2015

Dexterity test and gender stereotyping result in $115,000 settlement

Affirmative Action 

A dental equipment manufacturer in Huntsville, Alabama, has agreed to pay $115,000 to job applicants who were systematically excluded from jobs, according to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

A dental equipment manufacturer in Huntsville, Alabama, has agreed to pay $115,000 to job applicants who were systematically excluded from jobs, according to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Oral Arts Laboratory Inc. was a federal contractor when the OFCCP reviewed its hiring processes as part of a routine affirmative action audit. The agency found that the company used a dexterity test for dental lab technicians that had an adverse impact on women and African Americans, and the company failed to have the test validated to determine whether the test was really job-related and consistent with business necessity. As a result, 83 women and 19 African Americans were rejected for lab technician jobs. The OFCCP also determined that the company discriminated against 57 male applicants in hiring for shipping positions. The unsuccessful applicants will share the $115,000 settlement, and the company will offer jobs to at least 19 of them as positions become available. The company also stopped using the dexterity test and changed its selection process.

Tips: As a federal contractor, it’s essential to track the stage and reasons for which applicants drop out of your hiring process so you can determine whether any stage (such as a test) has an adverse impact on the basis of race or gender. An adverse impact doesn’t necessarily mean that discrimination has occurred, but it’s a red flag that should trigger a review of your selection process. The OFCCP is particularly suspicious of tests and will demand to see a professional validation study if a test has an adverse impact.

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