The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Minnesota carrier on behalf of woman who says the company refused to rehire her after she filed a gender discrimination complaint following a workplace injury.
The lawsuit names Stan Koch & Sons Trucking Inc., a Twin Cities-based fleet with more than 800 drivers and 1,300 power units, as defendants. The lawsuit seeks back pay and other financial awards for plaintiff Alana Nelson, as well as punitive damages. The lawsuit was filed on May 24 in federal court in Minnesota.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Stan Koch & Sons Trucking refused to allow a former employee to apply for re-employment, because she had filed an EEOC charge of sex discrimination against the company.
According to court documents, Nelson was hired as a driver in July 2012, and was injured at work around April 13, 2013. The documents do not specify the nature or circumstances of the injury. Nelson was reportedly placed on leave through the company’s worker’s compensation program from the time of the injury until July 15, 2013. The complaint alleges she was fired on July 18, 2013, after failing an isokinetic test she was required to take before returning to work.
“At the time of her discharge, defendant informed Ms. Nelson that she was eligible to re-apply for employment with defendant,” the complaint states.
Following her termination, Nelson filed a charge in December 2013 alleging that the company’s use of the isokinetic test was discriminatory to women.
The complaint states that Nelson applied for a job with the company in April 2014, but was allegedly told in a letter that her application was on hold “due to a pending legal matter.” The EEOC complaint alleges the legal matter in question was Nelson’s discrimination complaint.
The commission states the alleged 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.
“Refusing to hire an individual because she filed an EEOC charge is retaliation,” Gregory Gochanour, EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, said in a news release. “That is the law, and the EEOC will hold employers accountable if they violate it.”
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