$630,000 Settlement in Race Discrimination Lawsuit Against Trucking Firm, Training Ordered

Friday, September 28, 2012

Question:  Would race discrimination training have prevented this case?  See our trainings at http://www.hrclassroom.com.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that SDS Fontana Holdings, Inc., which formerly did business as Scully Distribution Services, will pay $630,000 to settle an EEOC lawsuit which alleged widespread harassment and discrimination against a class of African-American, Latino and East Indian workers, mostly truck drivers, in Northern and Southern California.  

In its lawsuit, the EEOC said that since at least 2003, management officials and employees at Scully referred to black drivers as "n----rs," East Indian drivers as "Taliban" and "camel jockey," and a Latino manager as "s--c."  In addition to the harassment, the EEOC charged that non-white drivers were given less favorable assignments than their counterparts.  

Harassment, discrimination and retaliation based on race, national origin and perceived religion violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Eastern Division (EEOC v. Scully Distribution Services, Inc. and Ryder System, Inc., Case No. CV11-8090 CAS [SPx]) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The EEOC's complaint also identified Miami-based Ryder System as a successor entity by virtue of its 2011 purchase of Scully, but did not assert any direct violations of Title VII against that entity.  

The EEOC and the defendants ultimately entered into a consent decree, which requires the designation of an EEO monitor to ensure compliance with Title VII and the terms of the decree.  The decree also provides for the implementation and continued maintenance of a policy and complaint procedure to address discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as extensive annual anti-discrimination training for managers and drivers of the client accounts formerly operated by Scully.  The EEOC will monitor compliance and future complaints of discrimination based on race, national origin and religion throughout the duration of the decree.  

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