EEOC says Florida is proper venue for lawsuit against CRST

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 7/18/2017

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission argued on July 7 in a memorandum to a Florida federal court that its lawsuit against CRST Expedited was filed in the proper venue.

EEOC is working on behalf of military veteran Leon Laferriere, who claims that CRST rescinded its job offer to him in June 2015 because of his request to drive with a service dog. According to the lawsuit, Laferriere was prescribed a service dog by his Veteran Affairs facility to assist with his post-traumatic stress disorder and mood disorder. EEOC argues that by rescinding its job offer to Laferriere, CRST violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Last month, CRST filed a motion to dismiss the case and argued that Florida was the improper venue. If the case is to continue, CRST asked that it be moved to the Northern District of Iowa, where the company is headquartered.

Laferriere attended driving school in Florida.

“Venue is appropriate in this judicial district, because the alleged discrimination and retaliation occurred here,” EEOC wrote. “Additionally, relevant records and potential witnesses are located in this district, and the Charging Party would have likely worked in this district but for the discrimination and retaliation alleged. For these reasons, Defendants’ motion should be denied in its entirety.”

Laferriere applied for a CRST truck driver position in May 2015 and was invited to attend a CRST-affiliated driver-training school in Jacksonville, Fla., EEOC said.

According to the lawsuit, CRST told Laferriere that he would move on to its driver orientation in Oklahoma City after successfully completing its driver training program in Jacksonville. But Laferriere alleged that CRST directed its Jacksonville training partner to put Laferriere on a bus back to Fort Myers, Fla., instead of moving him forward to CRST’s new driver orientation.

In its earlier motion, CRST argued that even though Laferriere attended a driving school in Florida, the allegations of unlawful employment practice would have occurred in Iowa.

“The application was received and reviewed by Expedited’s recruiter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” CRST wrote. “All communications with Mr. Laferriere originated from Expedited’s office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. All decisions made by Expedited with respect to Mr. Laferriere were made in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.”

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