United States: Sexual Harassment Class-Action Suit Dismissed
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 9:30 AM

Following a December 2005 complaint made by Monika Starke, a driver at CRST Van Expedited, Inc., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against CRST in 2007 on behalf of all female drivers who were subjected to “a sexually hostile and offensive work environment.” Many women working for the company reported being propositioned, groped, and assaulted by male drivers. However, the lawsuit and the EEOC has received criticism from the court, which dismissed the case. Judge Linda Reade accused the EEOC of using a “sue first, ask questions later" litigation strategy. The court claimed that the EEOC did not identify how many aggrieved persons for whom it was seeking relief until months after the filing. The court also held that the EEOC failed to present sufficient evidence to show that CRST has engaged in a pattern or practice of tolerating sexual harassment of its female drivers. The EEOC argued that a standard of identifying every class member before filing suit is impractical in cases involving hundreds or thousands of potential victims.
The EEOC investigates 100,000 workplace discrimination complaints annually and last year recovered more than $450 million for employees. EEOC general counsel P. David Lopez told The Associated Press, “We are an agency with limited resources already, and this is something that, if it stands, would make it even more challenging for us to address and vindicate discriminatory violations in the 8th circuit.” On April 9, the EEOC sought a rehearing in the federal appeals court to reconsider the 8th circuit’s ruling in this case.
Compiled From: Trucker harassment class-action suit backfires, Ryan J. Foley, Pioneer Press (16 April, 2012), EEOC seeks rehearing in trucker harassment case, Ryan J. Foley, Pioneer Press (16 April, 2012), EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc.