Legal Update: including Physical Abilities Testing and Big Data

Physical Abilities Testing

There were recent developments in two cases related to the use of physical abilities tests as part of the pre-employment process.

United States of America v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania et al.

In August 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) asked a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania to grant a partial summary judgment indicating that the physical abilities test battery used by the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) disproportionately screened out female applicants clearing the way for trail against PSP. The DOJ claims the court should conclude that the state’s use of its physical abilities test for screening entry-level state police trooper positions has a disparate impact on women and should therefore allow the parties to proceed to trial to determine whether the test is job-related and consistent with business necessity or whether there is a less discriminatory alternative employment practice that serves the state’s needs. Continue reading