U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri against New Prime Inc. for allegedly failing to take adequate steps to prevent sexual harassment against a female driver.
The EEOC accuses Prime Inc. of “violating federal law when it failed to take adequate steps to prevent the sexual harassment of a female truck driver.”
From a press release about the suit:
“The company, which does business as Prime, Inc., knew one of its independent contractor drivers, Eric Weekley, sexually harassed at least one female driver trainee. Prime stopped using Weekley as a trainer, but allowed him to continue driving for the company and continued providing him with Prime employees to work as co-drivers. When Weekley asked Melinda Huerta, a new Prime driver, to work as his co-driver, Prime allowed the match but did not warn Huerta about Weekley’s past misconduct or warn Weekley that he must not harass Huerta while she worked as his co-driver. The EEOC alleges that during the six weeks Weekley and Huerta drove together, Weekley continually talked about sex in graphic and violent terms and told Huerta she would lose her job and commercial driver’s license if she reported his behavior.”
According to the suit, Weekley repeatedly made explicit comments about wanting sex from his co-driver, telling Huerta “I could f*** your brains out,” even though Huerta repeatedly told Weekley that such comments were unwanted. Weekley also reportedly talked about how he had been in legal trouble for rape and for his wife’s death. The lawsuit further alleges that Weekley refused to give Huerta time to shower or to take care of other personal needs.
The EEOC suit claims that Huerta was not immediately reassigned to another truck after she reported the harassment to Prime and that when she did get reassigned, she lost significant income in the process.
As part of the lawsuit, the EEOC is asking Prime to change its policies in order to protect female drivers from the type of harassment that Huerta reportedly endured. The suit is also seeking back pay, punitive damages, and compensation for emotional distress for Huerta.