Koch Trucking Sued For “Sex Discrimination” Against Truck Driver
Minneapolis, Minnesota – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is accusing Minneapolis-based Stan Koch & Sons Trucking of refusing to rehire a former employee because she filed a charge of sex discrimination against the company.
In a suit filed on May 24 in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, the EEOC alleges Stan Koch & Sons Trucking engaged in unlawful practices and is seeking years of back pay for a formerly-employed truck driver, along with punitive damages for “malicious and reckless conduct.”
According to the suit, truck driver Alana Nelson filed two allegations with the EEOC against Koch & Sons dating back to 2013.
In her first complaint filed in December 2013, Nelson alleged she was fired based on her gender after failing a test to measure strength, range of motion and endurance.
She also contended an injury suffered on the job in April 2013 contributed to her failing the test.
The trucking company fired Nelson three days after she failed the test, but told her she could re-apply, so that’s what she did in April 2014.
The suit alleges that Koch & Sons responded to Nelson’s application by sending her a letter saying the application was being put on hold because of the pending legal matters with the EEOC.
The suit argues the trucking company’s conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination, including retaliation for filing a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.
In a release, the EEOC said it filed the suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
“Employers cannot retaliate against individuals for engaging in the EEOC process,” said Julianne Bowman, the EEOC’s district director in Chicago.
Gregory Gochanour, EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, stated, “Refusing to hire an individual because she filed an EEOC charge is retaliation. That is the law, and the EEOC will hold employers accountable if they violate it.”
Koch Trucking officials maintain they did nothing wrong and vow to fight the suit.
Kevin Giebel, a Koch executive vice president and general counsel, said Thursday that the company “will be responding accordingly” to the allegations and “strongly believes it violated no laws in this matter.”
In addition to financial compensation, the suit also seeks a judgement to compel Koch & Sons to train its staff on employee rights.
Interested in reading more about recent trucking lawsuits? Click HERE.