USF Holland refused to hire female truck drivers, EEOC claims

October 14, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit alleging that a trucking company’s terminal in Mississippi has refused to hire qualified females for truck driving positions for more than 30 years.

The EEOC filed the complaint against USF Holland on Tuesday, Oct. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. USF Holland is based in Holland, Mich., and has more than 50 terminals in the United States.

According to the lawsuit, USF Holland has employed “virtually no females as truck drivers” at its Olive Branch location since the terminal opened in 1986. The EEOC said that the Holland terminal employed more than 100 truck drivers as of May 2016, but none were women.

In addition, the EEOC claims that qualified women with extensive truck driving experience have applied over the years but that the USF Holland terminal has instead hired men with equal or inferior qualifications.

The allegations would be in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.

“It is important for employers to understand that assumptions about gender roles have no place in employment decisions,” said Delner Franklin-Thomas, a district director for the EEOC. “Denying women equal employment opportunities in the workplace because of gender is illegal.”

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Marilyn Hervery, who met all of the requisite qualifications listed by Holland, applied for one of the terminal’s several open trucking positions in May 2015. In August 2015, Hervery received an interview and was told she needed a forklift certification. The EEOC said Hervery obtained her forklift certification and notified USF Holland that she had done so. However, Holland hired three male applicants instead, including two who were interviewed after Hervery, the complaint said. The EEOC alleges that Hervery was at least as qualified if not more qualified than the male applicants.

The EEOC claims that Hervery’s story isn’t an isolated incident.

“Defendant has employed virtually no females as truck drivers at its Olive Branch location since that location opened in 1986,” the complaint stated. In addition, the EEOC said that during an investigation that Holland was unable to produce any records to indicate that it had hired any females as truck drivers at that location since at least 2005.

The EEOC said it filed the lawsuit after being unable to reach a settlement. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against future discrimination, as well as monetary relief. LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.