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Standardized tests can be a tool of employment discrimination

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2017 | Firm News, Workplace Discrimination

In the United States, workers are protected from discrimination on the job based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Some California job applicants may be familiar with testing as part of the employment process. Unfortunately, sometimes those tests can be used as a tool of employment discrimination, ruling out otherwise qualified employees with unfair tests that are not relevant to the skills required for the job they are applying for. 

Several companies have recently been cited or sued based on their hiring practices. The U.S. Department of Labor reports on these types of issues as they find them. In one example, a California cheese factory agreed to pay $550,000 and hire 13 rejected workers when its hiring tests were found to put black, Latino and Asian applicants at a disadvantage. Several others companies: an auto parts factory, a chemical plant, a lighting plant and an aluminum factory were also found to use tests that discriminate against women. 

When caught by an investigatory agency, most companies will scrap the tests. Other employers continue to use tests that aren’t relevant to the job that individuals are applying for, and screen out otherwise qualified applicants. This results in unfair treatment of workers as well as companies putting themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to finding good employees. 

Some workers have gotten settlements for the test-based discrimination they faced. In California, employment discrimination is illegal under the law. Workers who feel that they were eliminated from the hiring process have the right to consult with an attorney to see if discrimination has occurred, and the attorney can assist them in pursuing a settlement for any unfair treatment. 

Source:, “Sometimes hiring discrimination is committed by a bigot — and sometimes it’s by standardized test“, Laura Clawson, May 29, 2017



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