Excerpted from HR Dive By Lisa Burden
• American Pride Waste Solutions, Inc., has agreed to pay $32,500 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit alleging it refused to interview a qualified, female candidate for a driving job.
• The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a 2018 lawsuit that the South Carolina company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it failed to hire or interview Christina Rivers for a waste truck driver job because of her sex. EEOC said Rivers was qualified for the job as she holds a commercial driver’s license and has experience driving large trucks. “American Pride has never hired a female driver and offered inconsistent and varying excuses for its failure to interview Rivers, who it admitted was qualified to be interviewed,” EEOC said in a statement announcing the settlement.
• In addition to the monetary settlement, the company also agreed to update and distribute anti-discrimination policies; to provide annual equal employment opportunity training to its managers, supervisors and employees; and to post a notice about the lawsuit and to report to the EEOC when discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaints are received.
Title VII forbids covered employers from discriminating in every aspect of employment based on gender, including hiring, and EEOC remains committed to enforcement.
Last year, Sherwood Food Distributors, LLC, paid $3.6 million and agreed to offer jobs to 150 women to settle an agency lawsuit alleging that it discriminated against female applicants at its Cleveland and Detroit warehouses, refusing to hire women for entry-level jobs. Sex is rarely a bona fide occupational qualification, EEOC has said, adding that the exemption should be interpreted narrowly.
To head off gender-based discrimination claims, employers may need to adopt anti-discrimination policies and train those involved in hiring. A robust reporting system can help, too, experts have said.
With an eye toward the value of a diverse workplace, employers can go beyond training, policies and procedures and examine corporate culture. With buy-in from management, HR can work to create and uphold business ethics and conduct that supports a diverse work environment