MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is seeking a jury trial against USF Holland LLC, a subsidiary of YRC Worldwide, in a sex-discrimination case. USF Holland violated federal law by refusing for decades to hire qualified females for truck driving positions because of their sex, the EEOC charged in a lawsuit filed Oct. 13.
USF Holland operates more than 50 terminals in the U.S. The EEOC alleges the discrimination occurred at Holland’s Olive Branch, Mississippi, terminal.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, USF Holland has employed virtually no females as truck drivers at its Olive Branch location since that terminal opened in 1986. As of May 2016, USF Holland employed more than 100 truck drivers in Olive Branch, but none were women. The EEOC contends that qualified women with extensive truck-driving experience have applied over the years, but even when the women’s qualifications were equal or superior to those of male applicants, Holland hired men instead of women.
Only one plaintiff, Marilyn Hervery, is named in the EEOC’s filing. According to court documents, in May 2015 Hervery applied for one of five open truck-driving position with USF Holland’s Olive Branch location. Hervery, who met all requisite qualifications listed for the position by Holland, was told during her scheduled interview that she needed a forklift certification; Hervery obtained the certification and notified Holland. However, she was not selected for the position — instead three male applicants were hired. The EEOC and Hervery contend that she is “at least as qualified or more qualified” than the men hired for the truck-driving positions.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. USF Holland, LLC, Civil Action No. 3:20-cv-00270) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of back pay and compensatory damages, as well as an injunction against future discrimination.
“It is important for employers to understand that assumptions about gender roles have no place in employment decisions,” said Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi. “Denying women equal employment opportunities in the workplace because of gender is illegal.”