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Trucking company ordered to pay up for workplace discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission helped garner $3 million for women who were adversely affected by a trucking company's discriminatory hiring practices. Although not based in Massachusetts, the workplace discrimination experienced by the approximately 60 women is sadly not uncommon for local workers. Both men and women continue to suffer from discriminatory policies enacted by their employers.

In 2003, a sexual harassment lawsuit was filed against the trucking company's driver school. The school both recruits and trains new drivers who are either hoping to earn their commercial driver's license -- CDL -- or who need to log additional miles with experienced trainers. The outcome of the sexual harassment allegations caused a shift in school policy that required trainers be the same sex as the students they train. The only exception to this policy was if a female applicant had an already established relationship with a male trainer.

By 2012, the school had five or fewer female trainers. With over 2,000 employees in Massachusetts and across the rest of the United States, the opportunities for female applicants were severely restricted when compared with their male counterparts. Some female trainees were forced to wait 18 months before a female trainer was ever available. The lengthy wait times resulted in many of the female applicants being denied gainful employment while mail applicants typically received prompt assignments.

The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the women by the EEOC, garnered millions in damages for the lost job opportunities and other damages. Along with the consent decree to pay damages to the victims of workplace discrimination, the company is also barred from implementing future sex-based policies with similar requirements for trainers and applicants. The success of the lawsuit combined with the court order to abstain from discriminatory hiring practices means that both male and female workers will likely be able to enjoy equal opportunities in future endeavors with the trucking company.

Source: landlinemag.com, "Prime Inc. to pay out $3 million in EEOC dispute", June 2, 2016

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