OXFORD, Miss. — Freight carrier USF Holland LLC has been ordered to pay $490,000 and establish a scholarship fund to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
According to a news release, the EEOC charged that a significant number of qualified women with extensive truck driving experience were denied employment at Holland despite their being equal or superior to the male applicants. One woman was hired by Holland but was fired before she could even complete her first route on the job, according to the EEOC.
Holland’s alleged discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The EEOC sued in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford Division, after first seeking to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.Senior U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers required that Holland establish a $120,000 scholarship fund to be awarded four times annually for $10,000 each.
The scholarship will be awarded to women who seek to obtain their truck driver certifications through Holland’s truck driver apprenticeship program. The $10,000 scholarship will cover tuition, a DOT physical, daily wages at $17.50 per hour, commuting and transportation costs for those who reside outside of the city of the academy, lodging, a daily allowance, two class A state exams and an entry-level driver training for placement of qualified females in the academy.
It is also required for Holland to revise its anti-discrimination policy and conduct annual training to prevent discrimination at its Olive Branch, Mississippi, facility.
“While the trucking industry is traditionally a male-dominated field, qualified female drivers do exist and are paving the way for more women to enter the field,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Roslyn Griffin Pack. “We are pleased Holland agreed to take proactive steps to not only train female drivers through its apprenticeship program, but also to hire those qualified female drivers for positions in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. We hope these small steps will make a big difference in the lives of women who seek to enter the trucking industry.”
EEOC Acting District Director Edmond Sims added, “The Memphis District is pleased to have secured targeted relief and monetary damages for qualified women who applied for positions with Holland but were not hired. This resolution reaffirms the EEOC’s commitment to eradicate employment discrimination and promote and foster healthy work environments for all citizens across the Mid-South.”
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