Retail giant Walmart will pay $20 million to settle allegations of discriminating against women who didn't get jobs filling orders at the company's grocery distribution centers.
The case originated with complaints by two women at the Walmart distribution center in Laurel County, Ky., but will create compensation for women nationwide.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that Walmart discriminated against women at distribution centers across the country. There are 44 of those centers, said commission attorney Aimee L. McFerren.
There could be about 12,000 women who will qualify for compensation under an agreement to resolve the allegations, McFerren said.
Walmart did not admit it did anything wrong as part of the settlement.
The job at issue in the case is called an order filler. Those employees take grocery items, such as cases of canned food, off shelves and stack them onto pallet jacks to be wrapped and loaded on tractor-trailers for delivery to Walmart stores.
The job requires lifting up to 80 pounds, according to Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesman.
Walmart started using a physical abilities test in 2010 for people applying for the job.
The EEOC alleged that the test had a "disparate impact" on female applicants, putting them at a disadvantage and so denying them job opportunities because of their sex.
The commission's position was that the test overstated the physical demands of the job, McFerren said in an interview.