Judge denies testimony of 15 females in CRST sexual harassment trial

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 1/30/2013

A federal judge denied the motion to allow the testimony of 15 former CRST female truck drivers at the trial of another female driver, who claims the Cedar Rapids, IA, company failed to provide her with a workplace free of sexual harassment.

U.S. District Court Judge Linda Reade ruled on Monday, Jan. 29, that testimony from the 15 female drivers would not be allowed because they did not have the same male trainer or dispatcher as the plaintiff, Monika Starke. The judge said their testimony might cause “unfair prejudice and confusion of the issues.”

Starke claims she was forced to stay on the truck after reporting to her dispatcher that her male trainer was sexually harassing her back in 2005.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission planned to introduce the witnesses, who also claim they complained about sexual harassment by male trainers, at Starke’s trial in an effort to show the trucking company failed to provide a workplace free of sexual harassment.

In 2007, the EEOC filed a class action lawsuit that included 270 drivers against CRST. However, in 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Eighth Circuit ruled the agency must investigate each driver’s claim and seek a process to resolve each dispute before a class action lawsuit could be filed.

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