Rear view of a Gypsum Express tractor trailer on the highway.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Friday filed suit against Gypsum Express Ltd., a flatbed and bulk motor carrier headquartered in Baldwinsville, New York, for sex discrimination in hiring, as well as retaliation and other charges involving two former recruiters. 

Gypsum Express has more than 650 tractors, 11 terminals in 10 states and more than 750 employees. It also provides van, truckload and refrigerated service through its Gypsum Logistics brokerage unit.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that since at least 2014, Gypsum Express has consistently discriminated against female applicants for flatbed driver positions because of sex, including having a formal same-sex trainer/trainee policy for a period of time. The EEOC alleges the policy precluded recruiters from hiring inexperienced female applicants for driver positions because Gypsum Express did not employ any female trainers and was unwilling to pair female trainees with male trainers.

The EEOC also alleged that hiring officials, other management and supervisory employees, human resources personnel, and recruiters expressly stated sex-based criteria for flatbed driver positions.

The agency administers and enforces civil rights laws against workplace discrimination.

It said that Gypsum Express fired a former recruiter for opposing the trucking company’s discriminatory hiring practices and forced another recruiter to engage in discriminatory hiring practices, which adversely affected her terms, conditions or privileges of employment, forcing her to quit.

Michelle Eisele, director of the EEOC’s Indianapolis district office, said, “Retaliation against employees who oppose discrimination they observe in the workplace cannot be tolerated. The EEOC is committed to seeking relief for workers who speak up against their employer’s discriminatory conduct.”

The alleged conduct violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits using sex-based criteria in employment and retaliation against employees who oppose sex discrimination.      

After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its administrative conciliation process, the EEOC filed its lawsuit  in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.

The EEOC is seeking lost wages, compensatory damages, and punitive damages, as well as a permanent injunction against future unlawful conduct, and reporting and monitoring procedures to ensure Gypsum Express’ future compliance.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

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