Fleet Management

Prime Inc. to Pay Over $3 million to Settle EEOC Suit

June 03, 2016

By David Cullen

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To settle a suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, New Prime Trucking, Inc., which does business as Prime Inc., will pay over $3.1 million and make job offers to more than 60 women who were deemed negatively affected by the company’s same-sex driver trainer policy.

According to EEOC, the agreed upon payments follow an earlier court order that found the truckload carrier had violated federal law when it required that female truck-driver applicants be trained only by female trainers.

That court order held that Prime violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by denying employment opportunities to women as a result of its same-sex trainer policy.

EEOC said that Prime had adopted that policy in 2004 after it was found in a previous agency lawsuit to have violated Title VII based upon the sexual harassment of one of its female driver trainees.

The present suit was brought against Prime in September 2011 based on a discrimination charge filed by Deanna Roberts Clouse. “Because Prime had very few female trainers, its same-sex trainer policy forced female trainees to wait extended periods of time, sometimes up to 18 months, for a female trainer to become available, which re­sulted in most female driver trainees being denied employment,” EEOC stated in a news release. On the other hand, male applicants were “promptly assigned to male trainers.”

EEOC said that Prime ceased using its same-sex trainer policy in 2013 as a result of the agency's suit.

After the court's order on liability, Prime agreed to pay $250,000 to Clouse to resolve her claims. Last month, Prime agreed via consent decree to pay over $2.8 million in lost wages and damages for 63 other women, whom EOC said were denied job opportunities.

EEOC noted that it was “unable to determine the precise number or identities of all women affected by Prime's unlawful policy because, as the court found, Prime failed to ‘preserve the lists [of women who were put on waiting lists] and cooperate in identifying women impacted by the policy …"’

The order on liability and consent decree were entered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri (EEOC v. New Prime Trucking, Inc. Civil Action No.6:11-CV-03367 MDH).

In addition, the court permanently enjoined Prime from discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of sex and ordered that Prime shall not implement a same-sex trainer policy or practice that creates barriers to the entry or advancement of female driver applicants or employees.

The court also ordered Prime to give priority hiring consideration to the class members and make them immediately eligible for benefits without a waiting period.

"When women break into male-dominated fields, they are often trained by men,” said Andrea G. Baran, regional attorney of EEOC's St. Louis District. “We should not expect that these women will be sexually harassed. It is disrespectful to men everywhere to assume that they will harass women if they work together in close quarters. Rather, employers have a responsibility to adopt strict anti-harassment policies and practices and enforce them so that all employees-- regardless of sex --can work and succeed together."

Springfield, Mo.-based Prime is one of the nation’s largest truckload carriers, providing service to customers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

Comments

  1. 1. Cliff Downing [ June 06, 2016 @ 04:33AM ]

    One cannot make this stuff up. First a carrier gets in trouble by putting new women drivers with male trainers. Then they get in trouble for putting women only with women trainers. I have not affection for Prime, Inc, but feel for them on this issue. It is the times we live in.

  2. 2. TLynn [ June 13, 2016 @ 03:27AM ]

    Cliff your not reading the story. It is not that they are not putting them with males. It is that they do not have female trainers. By having this policy, they say we only put males with males and females with females but we have no females so we cant hire females or we have 2-3 females so the females have to wait upwards to a year and a half to get hired when a male don't have that wait. Who can wait for 1 1/2 years for a job when no other trucking company has such a policy. Therefore, effectively they are not hiring females thus not creating female trainers. Think about it. How would you feel if they said we only put Christians with Christians but we don't have any Christians therefore we cant hire Christians. Or better yet we only put white guys with white guys and blacks guys with black guys, we don't have any black guys so we cant hire black guys.

 

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