EEOC appeals judge's $4.7 million award to CRST in sexual harassment case

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 10/3/2013

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a notice of appeal in federal court after a judge ordered the agency to pay an Iowa-based trucking company nearly $4.7 million in legal fees.

The EEOC filed its notice of appeal on Friday, Sept. 27, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. On Aug. 1, U.S. District Court Judge Linda R. Reade ordered the EEOC to pay CRST’s legal fees following a lengthy sexual harassment class action case, which was largely dismissed by the court in 2012.

Land Line reached out to Justine Lisser of the EEOC’s Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs for a comment about the second appeal filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, but the office is currently closed because of the government shutdown.

This is the second appeal the EEOC has filed in the case stemming back to 2007. In 2012, CRST previously sought $4.5 million in attorneys’ fees and expenses, but an appellate court reversed its ruling. 

In her ruling in August, 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.

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

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