EEOC Says Female Truck Driver Sexually Harassed, Effectively Forced to Quit Job

Female employees have it tough enough in male-dominated jobs. All the more so when they are subject to sexual harassment.

A female truck driver working for a North Dakota civil construction company was subjected to a hostile work environment based on her sex and to work conditions that were so intolerable she was forced to resign, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed on May 5.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Jennifer Gerard worked for Keller Paving and Landscaping, Inc. in Minot from June to October 2013 as a truck driver. During Gerard’s employment, she was subjected to sexual harassment by several male coworkers. The harassment included male coworkers telling her she did not belong at the worksite, but should be at home in the kitchen taking care of her children. One male coworker asked her to perform oral sex on him. On another occasion, a male coworker touched her shoulder and her leg.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Gerard complained to company owners and the site manager about the harassment, but the harassment continued and one of the owners suggested that she quit. As a result, Gerard felt she had no choice but to resign, resulting in her constructive discharge.

“No employee should ever be forced to work in an environment where she is subjected to unwanted sexual touching and verbal abuse,” said Julianne Bowman, director of the EEOC’s Chicago District. “That goes for everyone in every kind of job – including woman truck drivers. Such behavior is not only uncivilized, it’s unlawful.”

EEOC Regional Attorney Greg Gochanour added, “In this instance, Ms. Gerard did exactly what she should have done by complaining to the owners and site manager.  But the company failed to take any appro­priate action to end the harassment, and instead forced her to resign. This is all illegal misconduct, and the EEOC is here to fight it.”

For a refresher on what conduct constitutes sexual harassment and what an employer’s legal obligations are to put an end to it, click here.


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