The U.S. Department of Labor announced that Michigan based Gordon Food Service has agreed to pay $1.85 million dollars, for what the Federal government considers a discriminatory "strength test" that was biased against women.

The western Michigan based Gordon Food Service has admitted no guilt but did agree to:

  • pay a total of $1.85 million to 926 female applicants
  • hire 37 women in warehouse operations
  • stop using a strength test that is considered to be discriminatory.

When I first reported on this news I could not find what the "discriminatory" strength test was, which made me question what was exactly going on.  I understand that companies will often settle a case for various reasons:

  1. if the cost of defending it is more than the settlement
  1. If they do not want to take on the power of the government, because of the other negative consequences that the government will bring against them
  1. Possibility of losing future government contracts.

To me the strength test is the key to this case and the fact that no one was talking or reporting about it made me very suspicious of what the government was doing.  When I sat down to write this column, I found an updated article that made scratch my head even more.

The article stated that the lawsuit did not start from any of the women, but from the government snooping around GFS's data.  Apparently during a routine evaluation of the company's "Functional Affirmative Action Plan", (yes you heard that right, "Functional Affirmative Action Plan"), investigators noticed the hiring rate for female applicants was quite a bit lower than male applicants.

I thought to myself, what the heck is a "Functional Affirmative Action Plan"?  I then thought how hard it is these days, due to government regulations, to run a business.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor was quoted in the MLive article stating:

Our analysis looks at the overall selection rate of applicants, then we calculate the expected number of female hires based on the overall rate. The 'expected' number of hires minus 'actual' number of hires gives the shortfall of 37.

You looked at what and did what to determine what?

You have to be kidding me.  The government gets that far into the weeds of these businesses, and there are people who actually believe there are not too many regulations.  Now what do you think?

Apparently their affirmative action investigation exposed that a majority of women weren't passing a strength test.  According to the MLive article the strength test apparently "used used Isokinetic Testing technology to match the physical capability of the worker with the physical demands of the job".  The federal government determined that the strength and agility test used by GFS to determine their potential employee's injury risk potential, was not administered or interpreted by a healthcare professional.  As well, the government in their all mighty wisdom decided the test isn't valid because the company failed to complete a full study of it, and the requirements are based on the criteria for workers in the coal mining industry.

Can we say it again, you have to be kidding me.  Okay, if it is true the GFS was using criteria for the coal mining industry that sounds suspect at first, but actually that would only be suspect if the strength requirements were not equally needed.

The spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor emailed the Grand Rapids Press and said:

We believe the test was more stringent than the actual job requirements

Ok, that is what you say.  But what does the industry standard say?

This attack against businesses by the Democrats in government has to stop, or you can kiss goodbye to a robust economy and more jobs that pay a decent salary.

Let’s talk about this today on The Live with Renk Show which airs Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon. To let me know your thoughts during the show please call (269) 441-9595.

Or please feel free to start a discussion and write your thoughts in the comment section.