Trucking firm settles harassment complaint
BY MIKE NOLAN firstname.lastname@example.org June 29, 2012 2:34PM
A driver gets in a truck at the Yellow and Roadway freight terminal in Sauk Village in this file photo. On Friday, YRC, parent of the trucking companies, agreed to pay $11 million to settle federal complaints alleging black workers at a now-shuttered term
Updated: June 30, 2012 8:26PM
Trucking company YRC Inc. has agreed to pay $11 million to settle allegations that black workers at its now-shuttered Chicago Ridge terminal were subjected to racial harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said Friday.
Nearly two years ago, YRC, parent of Yellow and Roadway trucking lines, agreed to pay $10 million to settle similar harassment claims by black workers at its terminals in Sauk Village and Elk Grove Village. That settlement was reached after the EEOC had filed a federal complaint on behalf of employees.
In both settlements YRC neither acknowledged nor denied that employees were harassed. The EEOC said that, overall, more than 600 current and former black employees at the three truck terminals could potentially share in the $21 million the company has agreed to pay.
The EEOC alleged in both lawsuits that black employees at the three terminals were threatened with hangman’s nooses made of twine and death threats scrawled on bathroom walls. The commission also alleged that work teams at terminals were segregated by race, with black employees given more physically demanding work than their white co-workers. Although black employees lodged complaints with their supervisors, the company failed to take action, the EEOC said.
In both lawsuits the EEOC said it tried to resolve the complaints with YRC before filing the federal cases.
Yellow Transportation operated the Chicago Ridge terminal, 10301 S. Harlem Ave., until Yellow merged with Roadway Express in October 2008. The Chicago Ridge terminal was closed in September 2009.
The EEOC sued in 2006 on behalf of workers at the Sauk Village terminal, near U.S. 30 and Torrence Avenue, then filed the Elk Grove Village complaint in 2008. In settling the cases in September 2010, YRC agreed to hire consultants to examine the company’s discipline and work assignment procedures, and for the consultants to recommend changes to prevent racial disparities in the workplace, the EEOC said. Also, activities at the Sauk Village terminal are being reviewed by a monitor who oversees YRC’s response to employee complaints and reports to the court regarding the company’s compliance with the 2010 decree.