Stan Koch & Sons Trucking agree to $165K settlement in retaliation lawsuit

October 20, 2020

Land Line Staff

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A Minnesota carrier will pay $165,000 and issue an apology to a female driver in order to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed on the driver’s behalf by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The EEOC announced the settlement with Stan Koch & Sons Trucking, of Golden Valley, Minn., on Monday, Oct.19. The company has more than 1,300 power units and over 800 drivers.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the company in May 2019, over the company’s refusal to rehire a former employee because she had filed an EEOC charge against Koch alleging that a strength test used by the company to screen truck drivers discriminates against women.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who complain about discrimination in the workplace.

The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through the EEOC’s pre-lawsuit conciliation process.

The settlement stipulates that Koch will pay $165,000 to the former employee and issue her an apology for how she was treated by the company.

It further mandates that Koch adopt a more comprehensive anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation policy, train its corporate office employees on Title VII’s protections against discrimination and retaliation, and report to the EEOC all future complaints of Title VII discrimination and retaliation, according to a news release announcing the settlement.

“Refusing to hire someone solely because she has filed a charge with the EEOC is as clear a case of retaliation as you are ever going to see,” said Gregory Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago. “The EEOC will continue to enforce federal laws on behalf of employees who exercise their civil rights by contacting our agency to report workplace discrimination.”

According to court documents, plaintiff Alana Nelson was hired as a driver in July 2012, and was injured at work around April 13, 2013. The documents do not specify the nature or circumstances of the injury. Nelson was reportedly placed on leave through the company’s worker’s compensation program from the time of the injury until July 15, 2013. The complaint alleges she was fired on July 18, 2013, after failing an isokinetic test she was required to take before returning to work.

“At the time of her discharge, defendant informed Ms. Nelson that she was eligible to re-apply for employment with defendant,” the complaint states.

Following her termination, Nelson filed a charge in December 2013 alleging that the company’s use of the isokinetic test was discriminatory to women.

The complaint states that Nelson applied for a job with the company in April 2014, but was allegedly told in a letter that her application was on hold “due to a pending legal matter.” The EEOC complaint alleged the legal matter in question was Nelson’s discrimination complaint. LL

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