Photo:  Jarek Tuszynski / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GDFL

Photo: Jarek Tuszynski / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GDFL

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of CRST Van Expedited in a legal battle with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, allowing the carrier to try to recoup $4.5 million in legal fees stemming from a sexual harassment case, according to a report in The Hill.

In 2013, a federal judge ordered the EEOC to pay CRST’s attorney’s fees and expenses that it racked up fighting a sexual harassment suit. The agency ultimately appealed the ruling in a district court and the award was thrown out on the basis that the carrier could not sue for legal fees in suits like this.

The case was then taken to the Supreme Court, which ruled that CRST should have the ability to recoup legal fees.

This does not automatically award the money to CRST, because the Supreme Court declined to rule on all aspects of the case, but it does allow the carrier to pursue compensation in lower courts.

“It is not prudent ... for the Court to attempt to resolve all the pending issues under the circumstances here,” the Supreme Court stated in legal documents. “This Court is confident that the Court of Appeals, and, if necessary, the District Court, will resolve the case by taking any proper steps to expedite its resolution in a manner consistent with their own procedures and their responsibilities in other pending cases.”

The EEOC brought the harassment suit against CRST in 2007 on behalf of all female drivers, who it claimed were subjected to a sexually hostile and offensive work environment. The court ultimately ruled against the EEOC, saying the claim was “unreasonable and groundless.” Only two specific claims were given merit, one of which was eventually settled by CRST. The carrier then sued to recoup the legal bills it racked up fighting the case.