Judge: Prime Trucking's Same-Sex Training Policy Violates Federal Law

By KOLR10 News

Published 08/18 2014 04:22PM

Updated 08/18 2014 04:24PM

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – In an announcement on Monday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) says New Prime, Inc., a trucking company, violated federal law by requiring female truck driver applicants only be trained by female trainers.

The ruling against New Prime, Inc., which does business as Prime, came from a federal judge Aug. 14.

The court found the company engaged in a practice of discrimination by denying employment opportunities to women through its same-sex trainer policy.

According to a statement from the EEOC, Prime adopted the policy in 2003, after it was found in a previous lawsuit involving the sexual harassment of one of its female driver trainees.

In September 2011, based on a discrimination charge filed by Deanna Roberts Clouse, the EEOC filed suit against Prime again.

In the lawsuit, the EEOC says Prime's policy of assigning female trainees only to female trainers discriminated against Clouse and all other female applicants for truck driver trainee positions because of their sex.

The EEOC alleged because Prime had very few female trainers, the practice resulted in female trainees waiting extended periods of time, sometimes up to 18 months, for a female driver to become available. In the end, most female drivers were denied employment, while male applicants were promptly assigned to male trainers.

The case is pending in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in Springfield, Mo.

The EEOC says the case will proceed with determining damages and remedies for the class of women who were harmed by the policy.

According to company information, Prime is one of the nation’s largest refrigerated, flatbed and tanker carriers. It is based in Springfield and has over 2,000 employees.

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