E.E.O.C. v. Crst Van Expedited, Inc., No. 07-CV-95-LRR.

CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Iowa
Writing for the CourtLinda R. Reade
Citation611 F.Supp.2d 918
Decision Date30 April 2009
Docket NumberNo. 07-CV-95-LRR.
PartiesEQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff, and Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano, Plaintiffs-Interveners, v. CRST VAN EXPEDITED, INC., Defendant.
611 F.Supp.2d 918
EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff, and
Janet Boot, Barbara Grant, Cindy Moffett, Remcey Jeunenne Peeples, Monika Starke, Latesha Thomas and Nicole Ann Cinquemano, Plaintiffs-Interveners,
v.
CRST VAN EXPEDITED, INC., Defendant.
No. 07-CV-95-LRR.
United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division.
April 30, 2009.

Page 919

Ann Marie Henry, Jean P. Kamp, Jeanne Bowman Szromba, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Chicago, IL, Brian C. Tyndall, EEOC Milwaukee District Office, Milwaukee, WI, Nicholas J. Pladson, EEOC, Minneapolis, MN, for Plaintiff.

Jeffrey R. Tronvold, Matthew James Reilly, Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, PLC, Cedar Rapids, IA, for Plaintiffs-Interveners.

Carla J. Rozycki, Emma J. Sullivan, J. Andrew Hirth, John H. Mathias, Jr., John P. Wolfsmith, Robert T. Markowski, Sally K. Sears Coder, Jenner and Block LLP, Chicago, IL, Kevin J. Visser, Thomas D. Wolle, Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman PLC, Cedar Rapids, IA, for Defendant.

ORDER

LINDA R. READE, Chief Judge.


Page 920

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 I. INTRODUCTION .................................................................... 920
                 II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND ........................................................... 921
                 A. Administrative Proceedings ................................................... 921
                 1. Ms. Starke files the Charge .............................................. 921
                 2. The EEOC processes the Charge ............................................ 921
                 3. The EEOC's investigation ................................................. 922
                 B. The EEOC's Complaint ......................................................... 922
                 C. Scheduling ................................................................... 924
                 D. Other Allegedly Aggrieved Persons ............................................ 924
                 1. Unnecessary confusion ..................................................... 924
                 2. Case management orders .................................................... 925
                 E. Motion ....................................................................... 927
                III. STATUTORY FRAMEWORK ............................................................. 927
                 A. Sexual Harassment is Sex Discrimination ...................................... 927
                 B. Differences Between "§ 706" & "§ 707" Lawsuits by the EEOC ......... 929
                 1. Lawsuits under § 706 ............................................ 929
                 2. Lawsuits under § 707 ................................................. 929
                 3. Summary of differences .................................................... 932
                 4. Confusion in this case .......... ......................................... 933
                 C. Sexual Harassment Pattern or Practice Cases are Special ...................... 934
                 1. The Teamsters model "breaks down" ......................................... 934
                 2. The modified burden-shifting approach of Jenson II ........................ 935
                 3. Summary ................................................................... 937
                 IV. THE MERITS ...................................................................... 938
                 A. Standard for Summary Judgment ................................................ 938
                 B. Preliminary Evidentiary Rulings .............................................. 939
                 C. Summary Judgment Facts ....................................................... 939
                 1. CRST's business model ..................................................... 939
                 2. Front-line personnel ...................................................... 940
                 a. Trainees ............................................................... 940
                 b. Co-drivers ............................................................. 940
                 c. Lead drivers ........................................................... 940
                 d. Dispatchers ............................................................ 940
                 3. Status of women at CRST ................................................... 941
                 4. CRST's policy against sexual harassment ................................... 941
                 5. Multiple avenues for reporting sexual harassment .......................... 944
                 6. Response and discipline ................................................... 945
                 7. Incidence of sexual harassment among CRST's drivers ....................... 946
                 8. CRST's responses to specific situations ................................... 947
                 D. Arguments .................................................................... 948
                 1. Motion .................................................................... 948
                 2. Resistance ................................................................ 950
                 3. Reply ..................................................................... 952
                 E. Analysis ..................................................................... 952
                 V. CONCLUSION ...................................................................... 958
                
I. INTRODUCTION

The matter before the court is Defendant CRST Van Expedited, Inc.'s "Motion for Summary Judgment on EEOC's Pattern and Practice Claim" ("Motion") (docket no. 150).

Page 921

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
A. Administrative Proceedings

1. Ms. Starke files the Charge

On December 1, 2005, Plaintiff-Intervener Monika Starke ("Ms.Starke") presented a Charge of Discrimination ("Charge") to Plaintiff Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("the EEOC"). Ms. Starke alleged that her employer, Defendant CRST Van Expedited, Inc. ("CRST"), "discriminated against [her] on the basis of ... sex ..., in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, [42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.,] as amended" ("Title VII"). Def.'s App'x at 2998. Ms. Starke alleged the following "particulars" in her Charge:

I was hired by [CRST] on June 22, 2005 in the position of Truck Driver. Since my employment began with [CRST,] I have been subjected to sexual harassment on two occasions by my Lead Trainers. On July 7, 2005, Bob Smith, Lead Trainer[,] began to make sexual remarks to me whenever he gave me instructions..... On July 14, 2005, I contacted the dispatcher and was told that I could not get off the truck until the next day. On July 18, 2005 through August 3, 2005, David Goodman, Lead Trainer, forced me to have unwanted sex with him on several occasions while we were traveling in order to get a passing grade.

Id. Further, Ms. Starke alleged that CRST "did not state why I was subjected to sexual harassment[,] which created a hostile work environment." Id.

2. The EEOC processes the Charge

Ms. Starke asked the EEOC to file her Charge and cross-file it with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission ("ICRC"). Pursuant to a work-sharing agreement, the EEOC formally received the Charge on behalf of both agencies and deemed the Charge to be "initially instituted" with the ICRC. (In the work-sharing agreement, the EEOC and ICRC reciprocally designated each other as agents for receiving charges of unlawful employment practices.) The EEOC sent a copy of the Charge to the ICRC, notified the ICRC that the Charge "is to be initially investigated by the EEOC," id. at 3000, and began its investigation.1

Because the EEOC deemed the Charge to be "initially instituted" with the ICRC, Ms. Starke's Charge was timely filed as to any alleged unlawful employment practice occurring on or after February 4, 2005, i.e., any such practice occurring within 300 days of the filing of the Charge. In relevant part, Title VII's statute of limitations provides:

A charge under this section shall be filed within one hundred and eighty days after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred ..., except that in a case of an unlawful employment practice with respect to which the person aggrieved has initially instituted proceedings with a State ... with authority to grant or seek relief from such practice ..., such charge shall be filed by or on behalf of the person aggrieved within three hundred days after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred ....

42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1); see, e.g., Occidental Life Ins. Co. of Cal. v. EEOC, 432 U.S. 355, 360 n. 8, 97 S.Ct. 2447, 53 L.Ed.2d 402 (1977) ("If a charge has been

Page 922

initially filed with or referred to a state ... agency, it must be filed with the EEOC within 300 days after the practice occurred...."). An influential treatise explains

there is a dual aspect to the Title VII limitations periods; they have a retrospective, as well as a prospective, aspect. In other words, not only must charges be filed within 180 (or 300) days after a discriminatory event, but also, as a general rule, the aggrieved party can only achieve redress for discriminatory acts which occurred 180 (or 300) days prior to the filing of charges.

4 Lex K. Larson, Employment Discrimination § 72.02, at 72-5 (2d ed. July 2008).

3. The EEOC's investigation

Upon receipt of the Charge, the EEOC immediately notified CRST of Ms. Starke's allegations. The EEOC ordered CRST to file a response to the Charge on or before December 30, 2005. The record does not disclose CRST's response to Ms. Starke's allegations.

The nature, scope and duration of the EEOC's investigation is unknown to the court. Further, it is unclear to what extent the EEOC attempted to conciliate Ms. Starke's allegations with CRST.2 What is certain is that Ms. Starke never exercised her right to file a Title VII lawsuit against CRST while her Charge was pending before the EEOC. Title VII grants the charging party who is unwilling to await the conclusion of extended EEOC proceedings a right to file suit 180 days after the charge was filed. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1); Occidental Life, 432 U.S. at 361, 97 S.Ct. 2447.

B. The EEOC's Complaint

On September 27, 2007, nearly two years after Ms. Starke filed her Charge, the EEOC filed the instant lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Starke "and a class of similarly situated female employees of [CRST]...." Complaint (docket no. 2), at 1. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) and (3) and 42 U.S.C. § 1981a, the EEOC purports to bring suit in its...

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35 practice notes
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Grane Healthcare Co., CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:10-250
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • March 6, 2014
    ...for a particular individual, however, the EEOC must establish each element of his or her claim. EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 611 F. Supp. 2d 918, 929 (N.D. Iowa 2009). A violation of § 12112(d) occurs as soon as a covered employer "conducts an improper medical examination or asks an im......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, Case No. 4:11-cv-03425
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • May 31, 2012
    ...EEOC is entitled to equitable relief, and may also usually pursue compensatory and punitive damages." EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 611 F.Supp.2d 918, 929 (N.D. Iowa 2009) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g); 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(a)). "A § 706 claim involves the rights of aggrieved individuals ......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, Case No. 4:11–CV–3425.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • July 30, 2014
    ...upon the Serrano district court. That opinion has since been vacated. Second, the Court relied upon EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 611 F.Supp.2d 918 (N.D.Iowa 2009). Because CRST again features prominently in Bass Pro's argument, the Court addresses it at length below, but suffice it to ......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Grane Healthcare Co., Civil Action No. 3:10–250.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • July 7, 2014
    ...for a particular individual, however, the EEOC must establish each element of his or her claim. EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 611 F.Supp.2d 918, 929 (N.D.Iowa 2009). A violation of § 12112(d) occurs as soon as a covered employer “conducts an improper medical examination or asks an impro......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Grane Healthcare Co., CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:10-250
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • March 6, 2014
    ...for a particular individual, however, the EEOC must establish each element of his or her claim. EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 611 F. Supp. 2d 918, 929 (N.D. Iowa 2009). A violation of § 12112(d) occurs as soon as a covered employer "conducts an improper medical examination or asks an im......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, Case No. 4:11-cv-03425
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • May 31, 2012
    ...EEOC is entitled to equitable relief, and may also usually pursue compensatory and punitive damages." EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 611 F.Supp.2d 918, 929 (N.D. Iowa 2009) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g); 42 U.S.C. § 1981a(a)). "A § 706 claim involves the rights of aggrieved individuals ......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, LLC, Case No. 4:11–CV–3425.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • July 30, 2014
    ...upon the Serrano district court. That opinion has since been vacated. Second, the Court relied upon EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 611 F.Supp.2d 918 (N.D.Iowa 2009). Because CRST again features prominently in Bass Pro's argument, the Court addresses it at length below, but suffice it to ......
  • Equal Emp't Opportunity Comm'n v. Grane Healthcare Co., Civil Action No. 3:10–250.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • July 7, 2014
    ...for a particular individual, however, the EEOC must establish each element of his or her claim. EEOC v. CRST Van Expedited, Inc., 611 F.Supp.2d 918, 929 (N.D.Iowa 2009). A violation of § 12112(d) occurs as soon as a covered employer “conducts an improper medical examination or asks an impro......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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