The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been ordered to pay $4.56 million in attorneys’ fees and "reasonable" expenses after shoddily pursuing a sexual harassment lawsuit against a trucking firm and losing.

In ordering the reparations, Chief Judge Linda Reade of the Northern Division Court of Iowa said the EEOC had "wholly abandoned its statutory duties" in not even bothering to investigate the claims by the female employees of CRST Van Expedited and furthermore had failed to show "a pattern or practice of tolerating sexual harassment in its workplace."

The sexual harassment lawsuit was filed on behalf of 270 female truck drivers employed by CRST in 2007. Then things went terribly wrong for the EEOC.

The EEOC’s argument, said Reade, "boils down to little more than bald assertions." The EEOC’s litigation strategy, she added, "was untenable: CRST faced a continuously moving target of allegedly aggrieved persons, the risk of never-ending discovery and indefinite continuance of trial."

The EEOC has appealed the decision and fine to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.

Employers, you don’t want to risk any legal action by the EEOC, which usually doesn’t lose and has a variety of weapons in its arsenal in addition to lawsuits. Get yourself a copy of Personnel Concepts’ EEO Compliance Program today.