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Case Name EEOC v. Walmart EE-KY-0037
Docket / Court 6:20-cv-00163 ( E.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On August 3, 2020, the EEOC brought a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky against Walmart alleging sex discrimination. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Walmart subjected two named plaintiffs and a class of female grocery workers to a ... read more >
On August 3, 2020, the EEOC brought a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky against Walmart alleging sex discrimination. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Walmart subjected two named plaintiffs and a class of female grocery workers to a physical ability test that disproportionately impacted female applications by denying them employment opportunities on the basis of their sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The lawsuit, though brought against Walmart, Inc., specifically references the conduct of the Walmart store located in London, Kentucky.

Prior to the filing of this lawsuit, the plaintiffs filed their charges of discrimination with the EEOC. The EEOC found reasonable cause to determine that Walmart’s actions subjected a class of women to sex-based discrimination based on Walmart’s use of a physical ability test. The EEOC then issued Letters of Determination to Walmart with this finding and invited Walmart to join the EEOC in informal methods of resolution to remedy the discriminatory practices and provide appropriate relief to the plaintiffs. However, Walmart did not provide a resolution that the EEOC found acceptable, and the EEOC issued a Notice of Failure of Conciliation advising Walmart of the failed resolution. The EEOC then filed suit against Walmart.

The complaint alleges that since 2010, Walmart used a selection procedure in grocery distribution centers nationwide that required grocery orderfiller applicants to achieve a competitive score on a physical abilities test. The physical abilities test was not necessary to the performance of the grocery orderfiller job function. Because women tended to receive less than competitive scores on the physical abilities test, Walmart’s use of this physical abilities test disparately and negatively affected women in the hiring process for grocery orderfillers.

The EEOC asked the court for: (a) a permanent injunction preventing Walmart from using physical abilities tests to hire for grocery orderfiller positions; (b) a permanent injunction against any hiring practices, such as employment tests, that have a disparate and discriminatory impact on women; (c) an order requiring Walmart to institute new training, policies and programs that provide equal employment opportunities based on sex and that ensure that its operations are free from employment practices that discriminate on women based on sex; (d) an order requiring Walmart to compensate the plaintiffs to eradicate the effects of the discriminatory employment practices; (e) an order granting further relief as the Court deems necessary and proper; and (f) an order awarding EEOC costs for the lawsuit.

By the time that the lawsuit was filed, the parties had already agreed on terms of a settlement. On August 3, 2020 the parties filed a joint motion for entry of a consent decree and on September 9, 2020, Judge Karen Caldwell granted the motion and approved the consent decree.

The consent decree applies to all Walmart grocery distribution centers. The decree provides injunctive relief, including requiring Walmart to cease use and refrain from using for five years a physical abilities test for hiring orderfillers at grocery distribution centers. Walmart is also forbidden from engaging in employment practices that discriminate on the basis of sex and from engaging in employment practices that discriminate on the basis of involvement in the EEOC proceedings, the proceedings on the claim against Walmart, or any other proceeding under Title VII.

The consent decree also provides significant monetary relief. The decree ordered Walmart to pay $20,000,000.00 into a Qualified Settlement Fund as part of the resolution, to be distributed to eligible claimants at the sole discretion of the EEOC. Eligible claimants include women who applied for the position of orderfiller at a Walmart grocery distribution center between February 1, 2020 and the time Walmart ceased use of the physical abilities test and who did not score competitively on the physical abilities test, and therefore did not move forward in the hiring process for the position of orderfiller. The decree also shifts the costs of a claims administrator up to $250,000.00 to Walmart, allowing a mutually agreed upon claims administrator to oversee the claims process and payments to eligible claimants. The consent decree does award the EEOC costs for the action.

Further, the consent decree mandates certain training and notification requirements. The decree required Walmart to provide training to employees who have hiring or supervisory responsibilities for grocery orderfillers regarding the terms of the consent decree including the cessation of the physical abilities test, clear and accurate information about the grocery orderfiller job requirements and qualifications, and information on what constitutes unlawful employment practice under Title VII. Walmart was also required to certify compliance with certain aspects of the consent decree in writing to the EEOC.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky retains jurisdiction over the matter for two years, through September 9, 2022. The case remains ongoing.

Rebecca Fisher - 09/23/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Training
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Testing
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
General
Disparate Impact
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Walmart
Plaintiff Description EEOC
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Mooted before ruling
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2020 - 2022
Filed 08/03/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
E.D. Ky.
09/09/2020
6:20-cv-00163-KKC
EE-KY-0037-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Ky.
08/03/2020
Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-KY-0037-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ky.
08/03/2020
Joint Motion to Enter Consent Decree [ECF# 6 & 6-1]
EE-KY-0037-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Ky.
09/09/2020
Consent Decree [ECF# 8]
EE-KY-0037-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Caldwell, Karen K. (E.D. Ky.) show/hide docs
EE-KY-0037-0003 | EE-KY-0037-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bird, Kenneth L (Indiana) show/hide docs
EE-KY-0037-0001 | EE-KY-0037-0002 | EE-KY-0037-0003
Canino, Robert Anthony (Texas) show/hide docs
EE-KY-0037-0001
Gustafson, Sharon Fast (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-KY-0037-0001
McFerren, Aimee Lynn (Kentucky) show/hide docs
EE-KY-0037-0001 | EE-KY-0037-0002 | EE-KY-0037-0003 | EE-KY-0037-9000
Reams, Gwendolyn Young (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
EE-KY-0037-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Nahavandi, Amir J (Kentucky) show/hide docs
EE-KY-0037-9000
Quesenberry, Kathryn A (Kentucky) show/hide docs
EE-KY-0037-0002 | EE-KY-0037-0003 | EE-KY-0037-9000

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