An Iowa trucking company is the focus of a class-action lawsuit alleging that their female truck drivers were victimized by sexual harassment. Three hundred women joined the suit with allegations of inappropriate touching and groping, unwelcome comments, assault, rape, and other forms of abuse. These female workers are now part of the #MeToo movement and are calling for action.
The trucking company, Cedar Rapids Steel Transport (CRST), delivers for major companies such as Amazon and FedEx, along with others that market to women, such as Nordstrom, Coca-Cola, Costco, AT&T, and Walmart. CRST has denied the claims and stated that their sexual abuse policies and reporting methods are constantly updated. They also said there was no evidence to support the harassment.
Stories of Abuse
Court records show 135 alleged incidents where female CRST drivers needed to get off their trucks because of harassment. One employee was harassed when a male co-worker started touching her legs and back inappropriately in front of other employees. Although she reported this to Human Resources (HR), nothing was done. Another female driver reported that a co-driver made racial and sexually explicit comments and touched her. After she contacted HR, the co-driver said that she was a flirt and was permitted to continue working.
The men accused of sexual harassment were also allowed to continue working, although none of the female drivers that complained were permitted to do so. CRST’s records showed over 200 uncorroborated sexual abuse complaints during the suit, and female drivers claimed that the company’s sexual harassment hotline was frequently unanswered when calls were placed. Recently unsealed documents also show that close to 60 percent of the complaints were not thoroughly investigated, with evidence being omitted.
No Guidelines for Shipping Companies
Since CRST delivers for companies that market products to women, some feel that these companies are indirectly endorsing the harassment. Founder of the nonprofit organization, Real Women in Trucking, stated that although these brands are aimed at female consumers, the companies may not be aware that their supply chain is not protecting their employees.
Real Women in Trucking sponsored a social media campaign last winter before the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show; the lingerie company owned by L Brands, who uses CRST. It was pointed out that although L Brands emphases using ethically sourced products, they lack clear guidelines for their shipping contractors. Critics are now looking at other trucking companies and questioning how supply chains address sexual harassment.
A former female truck driver stated that much of the public is not aware that women drive trucks. She emphasizes the importance of educating the public; other advocates feel that community-based, local campaigns can also help. Many of the companies that used CRST have continued to do so since the class action, but others have decided to change suppliers.
Chester County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Employees Facing Workplace Sexual Harassment
Although the #MeToo movement has made great strides, many employees still face sexual abuse and harassment. Call the experienced Chester County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation today at 215-569-1999, or complete an online form. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and South Jersey.