A subsidiary of YRC Worldwide has hired “virtually no” females at a Mississippi facility, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in that state earlier this week.
The lawsuit by the EEOC against LTL carrier and YRC subsidiary USF Holland came after earlier negotiations between the EEOC and the company failed to come to a resolution. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi and focused on Holland’s terminal in Olive Branch, Mississippi, just across the state line with Tennessee and southeast of Memphis.
The failure of USF Holland to hire a female applicant named Marilyn Hervery kicked off the actions that led to the negotiations between the company and the EEOC. The suit alleges that USF Holland failed to hire Hervery and “a class of female applicants,” though no other female applicants are identified by name.
Hervery, according to the lawsuit, had filed a charge with the EEOC alleging violations of Title VII, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race and gender, among other characteristics. In August 2019, the EEOC sent USF Holland a letter saying there was “reasonable cause” to believe the company had violated Title VII “and inviting (Holland) to join with the commission in informal methods of conciliation to eliminate the unlawful employment practices and provide appropriate relief.”
But those talks were not successful in reaching agreement between EEOC and Holland. The closure of those talks was marked by the EEOC issuing Holland a “notice of failure of conciliation” in September 2019.
Hervery’s claims are that she applied for a driver position with Holland in May 2014, at a time when the company had five open positions. According to the lawsuit, she met all the company’s requirements for the job.
According to the lawsuit, Hervery was told during an interview that she needed forklift certification. She went out and got the required certification.
But she wasn’t hired. Three male applicants were hired, the lawsuit says, adding that two of them were interviewed after Hervery.
“Hervery is at least as qualified or more qualified than the males hired by (Holland) into truck driving positions,” the suit says.
And according to the lawsuit, the failure to hire Hervery was part of a long-standing practice at the Olive Branch facility. When the EEOC was investigating the company, Holland could not produce “any” records indicating it had employed any females as truck drivers since at least 2005.
It is possible that some females had driver jobs prior to that, as the suit says Holland has employed “virtually no females” since Olive Branch was opened in 1986.
Its driver workforce in May 2016 was approximately 100 drivers. None were female, the lawsuit says. It describes Holland’s actions in reaching that position as “intentional.”
The lawsuit asks for a permanent injunction to stop Holland from “failing to hire” females. It also seeks back pay for Hervery and the unspecified class of female applicants and compensate them for both and future financial losses as a result of Holland’s practices.
A spokesman for Holland’s parent, YRC Worldwide, declined comment on the case.