December 14, 2009
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit against YRC, alleging that the carrier created a racially hostile environment for its black employees at the Chicago Ridge facility. According to the EEOC's complaint, black employees at the facility were subjected to hangman's nooses, racist graffiti and racist comments. In addition, the complaints said black employees experienced harsher discipline and scrutiny than their white counterparts, and that YRC gave more difficult and time-consuming work assignments to black employees than white employees. The complaint says this has been going on since 2004. The EEOC said that black employees have made numerous complaints about the discrimination over the years, but YRC failed to take action to correct the problems. The EEOC claims the company's actions violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and will seek relief for over 200 African American employees who worked at the Chicago Ridge location from 2004 to the present. This is not the first EEOC lawsuit YRC has faced. Since 2006, the EEOC has been pursuing litigation against the carrier, as a result of alleged discriminatory treatment of black employees at YRC's (formerly Roadway Express's) facilities in Chicago Heights and Elk Grove Village, Ill. Those two lawsuits, which are still pending, claim similar misconduct against employees. The EEOC represents more than 150 employees at those two facilities."In this economy, many employers-including trucking and transportation companies such as YRC-are facing choices about how to allocate resources," said John Hendrickson, EEOC Chicago district regional attorney. "But the allegations here predate the recent downturn. This suit, and those involving the Chicago Heights and Elk Grove facilities, should remind all employers that federal laws barring employment discrimination are not put on hold during recessions, and that no employer should think that ignoring and failing to remedy on-the-job harassment can somehow be excused as a cost-saving measure."