The EEOC has petitioned for a rehearing of the workplace sexual harassment case against CRST Van Expedited Inc. This action on the part of the EEOC sends a strong signal to all U.S. employers that the EEOC will vigorously defend their enforcement efforts – even if it means making attempts to go back and re-try a case.
On April 18, Pre-employ.com wrote about the decision by the Eighth Circuit Court. A number of female employees reported they were sexually harassed by male trainers while on cross-country trips.
The panel dismissed the case in February 2012, citing that the EEOC failed to investigate every claim before filing its lawsuit against CRST in 2007. The EEOC was also ordered to pay CRST nearly $4.5 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses.
According to the petition the panel’s decision will “undermine EEOC’s future enforcement efforts.”
The petition went on to counter findings of the Eight Circuit Court by stating: “In this case, EEOC completed its investigation, engaged in conciliation, and filed this lawsuit not knowing what CRST knew – that CRST had received and processed over a hundred complaints from female drivers of sexual harassment by their male trailers and co-drivers.”
The EEOC also seeks reconsideration of the panel’s decision that CSRT trainers had supervisory power in asserting whether a trainee passed after the 28-day training period.
The EEOC lawsuit against CRST, originally filed in 2007, alleged the company failed to provide a workplace free of sexual harassment. The charges came after Monika Starke, a CRST trainee, filed a complaint with the agency alleging she was “sexually harassed by two CRST male trainers.” The class also included 270 “similarly situated female employees.”
Once again, when dealing with the EEOC employers should always be aware the agency will defend their investigations and take whatever steps are necessary to bring violators to trial. And if things turn out to the EEOC’s liking? Attempt to bring violators to trial, again
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