On April 25th, 2023, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that a nationwide trucking company will pay a $1.25 million settlement in a gender discrimination case. The EEOC’s lawsuit alleges that the trucking company discriminated against female applicants for loader positions. Notably, the federal law cited in this gender discrimination case also includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions. In April 2023, the EEOC sued a nursing facility for $400,000 for workplace pregnancy discrimination.
Overview of the Gender Discrimination Case
According to the gender discrimination case, the trucking company discriminated against women when hiring for its Ohio-based loader positions. The sex-based discrimination occurred between January 2010 and December 2017. Although the company did hire a few women to loading positions, they either rejected most female applicants to those positions or coerced them to apply to other positions because of their gender. Meanwhile, applicants and other witnesses claimed the company told them they “do not hire women for loader positions.” The EEOC alleges that the gender discrimination resulted in a disproportionate number of male hires within the company compared to the number of female applicants they received.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on protected classes, including race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. Indeed, the law makes it clear that it is unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his or her compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Settlement in the Case
In EEOC v. R&L Carriers Shared Services, LLC, et al., filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the District Court issued a consent decree requiring the trucking company to pay $1,250,000 to settle the gender discrimination case. The EEOC and the claim administrator in the case will next locate the female claimants to whom the settlement will be dispersed. Additionally, the consent decree requires the company to:
- Cease discriminatory practices against female applicants;
- Train hiring officials in legal hiring procedures; and
- Instruct recruiters and employees not to discriminate against women applying for loader positions.
The trucking company must also take steps to resolve the hiring discrepancy between males and females for the loader position. This order included providing outreach and recruitment to women regarding loader positions. Finally, the District Court ordered the company to invite the previously rejected female applicants to reapply for those loader positions.