Major Retail Chain's Personality Tests Adversely Impacted Applicants Based on Race and National Origin, Federal Agency Charged
CLEVELAND - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Best Buy, a nationwide electronics retailer based in Richfield, Minn., have reached a conciliation agreement to resolve charges of race and national origin discrimination raised by a former EEOC Commissioner, the federal agency announced today.
Following a lengthy investigation, the EEOC found it probable that between 2003 and 2010, the company, through use of personality tests/assessments during the application process, adversely impacted applicants based on race and national origin. The EEOC argued that such tests/assessments therefore violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
To demonstrate its support of Title VII and without admitting liability, the company stopped using the problematic assessments after receiving the charge of discrimination. Because of the EEOC's investigation and without litigation, Best Buy agreed to implement many "best practices" nationally, such as modifying its hiring process, adding staff to recruit and monitor the hiring of minorities, creating comprehensive in-house training modules for hiring managers and forming regional diversity and inclusion committees where employees in the field and at the corporate level are empowered to address and prevent barriers to equal employment. Best Buy will also conduct regular evaluations of its hiring performance and submit regular reports to the EEOC for several years.
"We commend Best Buy for its cooperation in working with the EEOC to resolve this matter," said Jamie Williamson, director of the EEOC's Philadelphia District, of which Cleveland is a part. "This agreement is a major step forward in addressing the EEOC's focus on class barriers in the recruitment and hiring of qualified persons."
Cleveland Field Office Director Cheryl Mabry added, "So-called 'personality tests' are unacceptable if they have the effect of screening out people because of their race or national origin. We appreciate Best Buy cooperating with the EEOC to correct this situation."