The EEOC doesn’t win every case it pursues. An angry judge has ordered the EEOC to pay $4.7 million in legal fees incurred when the national trucking firm CRST had to defend itself against a flurry of sexual harassment suits, many of which eventually turned out to be baseless.
In 2007, female employees claimed that managers and trainers sexually harassed them. CRST settled one case for $50,000, but then the EEOC filed a “pattern or practice” claim, essentially claiming the company regularly condoned or permitted harassment of female employees.
CRST retained several law firms to defend itself against the charges at both the trial and appellate court levels. The bills piled up.
Finally, U.S. District Judge Linda Reade ruled that the EEOC had become abusive. She noted that the commission’s charges consisted of 153 claims that were “unreasonable or groundless.” More than 100 other claims were dismissed as part of the sanction or were withdrawn by the EEOC.
An EEOC statement expressed disappointment with the decision and said officials are weighing an appeal.
- Show your defense cards early in the lawsuit game
- Tell bosses: Work sexual harassment rules apply to other business relationships, too
- Scour your policies now for any traces of age discrimination
- When promotions are on the line, follow your criteria and beware supervisor bias
- Consistency: Your key defense