Judge orders EEOC to pay $4.7 million in CRST sexual harassment case

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, August 06, 2013

A judge has ordered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to pay an Iowa-based trucking company nearly $4.7 million in attorneys’ fees and costs.

On Aug. 1, U.S. District Court Judge Linda R. Reade ordered the EEOC to pay CRST, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based trucking company, $4,189,295 in attorneys’ fees, $91,758.46 in costs and $413,387.58 for out-of-pocket expenses following a lengthy sexual harassment class action case, which was largely dismissed by the court in 2012.

In her ruling, Judge Reade stated that the court “previously determined that the EEOC’s claims were unreasonable and, after reviewing the record and the parties’ arguments, the court essentially stands by such determination.”

In February 2013, CRST settled with one of its former drivers, Monika Starke, for $50,000 prior to trial. She claimed she was forced to stay on the truck after reporting to her dispatcher that her male trainer was sexually harassing her in 2005.

The court ruled that the EEOC must investigate each claim of sexual harassment prior to filing a class-action lawsuit. In 2007, the EEOC filed a class action complaint that included 270 drivers, alleging that the company failed to provide a workplace free of sexual harassment.

Justine Lisser of the EEOC’s Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs, told Land Line on Aug. 6 that the agency is “deeply disappointed in the decision and (is) considering next steps.” However she did not include any information about what those next steps might be.

CRST previously sought $4.5 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses, but an appellate court reversed its ruling in 2012. 

See related articles:
CRST settles EEOC sexual harassment lawsuit
EEOC seeks full panel rehearing in CRST case

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