A Phenix City, Alabama-based carrier has agreed to pay $15,000 to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
In 2011, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Joe-Ryan Enterprises claiming “Joe Ryan Trucking (Ryan) violated federal law by subjecting its female employees in its Phenix City, Ala. to abusive language and conduct because of their sex, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) charged in a lawsuit filed September 23, 2011.”
According to a 2001 press release from the EEOC, the lawsuit claims that the owner of the company was “incessant in sexually harassing his female employees.” The suit claims the owner repeatedly used sexually degrading terms when describing women, frequently made inappropriate sexual comments to female employees and referred to women’s body parts in a “sexually degrading manner.” In addition, the owner is accused of displaying sexually offensive pictures and images of women. One employee claims the owner exposed himself to her numerous times.
On May 15, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Missouri Department of Alabama, Eastern Division, issued a 3-year consent decree which includes a $15,000 monetary settlement for one of the employees who was forced to resign from her position with the carrier because of the harassment.
Joe Ryan Trucking has been ordered to implement new policies and practices designed to prevent harassment, provide anti-discrimination training to its employees.
Delner Franklin-Thomas, district director for the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, said, “A woman who chooses to work in a male-dominated industry or workplace does not give up her right to be free from sexual harassment. Employers who allow their workplaces to be permeated with sexually derogatory language and conduct are not meeting their obligations under federal law. When employers choose not to meet those obligations, the EEOC is prepared to pursue all appropriate means to hold them accountable.”
Gerald Miller, senior trial attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, said, “We are pleased this settlement is targeted to improve the work environment for all employees in this workforce. It should help ensure no worker feels victimized because of gender.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The EEOC’s Birmingham District covers Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.