The settlement was announced yesterday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued Phoenix, Arizona-based Swift last year.
The alleged discrimination occurred at Swift's terminal in Edwardsville, Kan., where the EEOC discovered that Swift had been paying the six women driver managers less than their male colleagues.
In the proposed Consent Decree, now pending approval of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas in Kansas City, Swift agreed to pay a total of $450,000 in back pay and damages to Pam Dishon, Kim Harrington, Julie Pine Meek, Sheri Rice, Barbara Vaught and Sue Matlack. The Decree provides that Swift will immediately increase the salaries of four of the women who are still employed by the company, in order to bring their salaries in line with those of male driver managers.
According to Robert Johnson, EEOC's Regional Attorney in St. Louis, this is the largest pay discrimination settlement obtained nationwide in recent years by EEOC. "We hope that all employers, particularly those in male-dominated industries such as trucking, get the message that men and women must receive equal pay for doing the same work," he said.
Swift issued a statement denying the EEOC allegations. "Swift has and continues to have non-discriminatory employment policies and denies the EEOC allegations and any liability. Nonetheless, Swift has agreed to resolve the matter to avoid the significant costs of litigation with a government agency including the distraction of management time and attention that would be involved."
The EEOC, which enforces federal laws barring job discrimination, said it settled another sex bias suit against Swift last year for $529,000. In that case, the EEOC challenged a Swift policy that prohibited women drivers from being trained by male instructors.