Large Employers Drop Personality Tests During Conciliation

Large Employers Drop Personality Tests During Conciliation

In a development that is quite significant for Chicago workers, Best Buy and CVS agreed to stop requiring that job applicants take personality tests.

Without admitting any liability, the two companies said they would no longer use personality tests to help select job applicants. By extension, these firms can no longer use these tests for promotion, demotion, or any other purpose. These tests have become increasingly popular in the last decade and they have also come under increasing scrutiny. CVS had previously agreed to modify its tests after the Rhode Island Human Rights Commission expressed concern over some mental health-related questions. In 2015, Target paid $2.8 million to settle similar allegations.

CVS agreed to stop using tests, retool its application process, and keep the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the loop. Best Buy’s settlement contained similar provisions.

Are Chicago Personality Tests Discriminatory?

About two-thirds of employers say they use personality tests during the job application process. Sometimes, applicants must take a test during the screening process. A few common ones include:

  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MDTI),
  • California Psychological Inventory,
  • Five Factor Model (FFM) test, and
  • The Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness (DISC) profile.

Employers say that these tests and others like them predict how a worker will react to certain situations and how productive the worker will be. However, the evidence that backs up these assertions is a little thin. Moreover, there are some legitimate concerns that tests like these may be discriminatory, either intentionally or unintentionally.

The tests do not ask blatantly discriminatory questions, like age and national origin, except in a few cases, but these exams do often contain queries that may involve:

  • Disability Discrimination: Some questions, such as the aforementioned “How would you respond to. . .” questions, raise red flags that involve disabilities like depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Race Discrimination: Questions like “How long would your commute be?” may discriminate against applicants from far-away, mostly minority neighborhoods.

Typically, in Illinois employment bias cases, the plaintiff need not prove that the discrimination was intentional. It is usually sufficient to show that discrimination did, in fact, occur.

What Does the Presuit Conciliation Process Mean in Chicago?

Before 2015’s EEOC v. Mach Mining, the EEOC usually treated the presuit conciliation period as a formality. Technically, the law required negotiations between the EEOC and the targeted employer. These “negotiations” often consisted of a demand letter and little more.

In this case, the Supreme Court basically ordered the EEOC to make a serious effort to settle the case before filing suit. As a result, many regional offices no longer take complex cases. They are only interested in the ones which can settle quickly, such as the Best Buy/CVS personality test case. In other cases, agents may issue right-to-sue letters even more quickly than usual.

So, if you get such a letter, that does not mean that your claim is meritless. It just means that, for whatever reason, the EEOC did not want to pursue it. Do not get discouraged; just call a lawyer.

Contact an Aggressive Attorney

Unlike the EEOC, we do not give up easily on your employment discrimination claim. For a free consultation with an experienced employment law attorney in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.