August 19, 2014

Trucking company discriminated against women drivers, ruling says

A former New Prime requirement that women be trained only by women constituted discrimination, according to a judicial decision in a long-running case.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued the New Prime Inc. trucking company in 2011, alleging unfair hiring policies for women, said a federal judge has agreed the company was in violation of federal law.

New Prime, one of the nation’s largest trucking companies, on Monday was found in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri in Springfield to have engaged in a “pattern and practice of discrimination.”

The charge relates to Prime’s previous policy to train female drivers only with female trainers, which essentially limited women’s access to the jobs or delayed their hiring because there were fewer female trainers than male trainers.

Prime sought to have the case dismissed and has said that it has fully cooperated with the commission throughout a long litigation history. It suspended the women-train-women policy in March 2013.

Prime had adopted the women-train-women policy in 2003 after an earlier EEOC lawsuit focused on sexual harassment of a female driver trainee.

The commission contended that Prime should prevent sexual harassment through training and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and not by segregating men and women.

The case will “proceed with determining damages and remedies for the class of women who were harmed by the policy,” according to the commission.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to

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