United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division
CATHY SELLARS, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, et al., Plaintiffs,
CRST EXPEDITED, INC., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
LEONARD T. STRAND, CHIEF JUDGE
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS
CRST's Business Model
CRST's Policies Regarding Sexual Harassment and
Plaintiffs' Commencement of Employment with CRST
Plaintiffs' Allegations Against Other Drivers
Plaintiffs' Separation from CRST
Plaintiffs' Hostile Work Environment Claims
Plaintiffs' Retaliation Claims
Plaintiffs' Constructive Discharge Claims
case is before me on a motion (Doc. No. 216) for summary
judgment on plaintiffs' individual claims filed by
defendant CRST Expedited, Inc. (CRST). Plaintiffs have filed
a response (Doc. No. 239) and CRST has filed a reply (Doc.
No. 246). I find that oral argument is unnecessary.
See Local Rule 7(c).
March 30, 2017, I entered an order certifying a hostile work
environment class and a retaliation class in this case.
See Doc. No. 85. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 23(c)(4)(A), I also certified the following issues
with respect to each class pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
a. As to the Hostile Work Environment Class, whether CRST has
any of the following policies, patterns or practices that
create or contribute to a hostile work environment:
(1) failing to find their complaints were corroborated
without an eyewitness or admission,
(2) failing to discipline drivers after complaints were
(3) failure to discipline [driver managers] for failing to
promptly respond to sexual harassment complaints and b. As to
the Retaliation Class:
(1) Whether CRST has a policy, pattern or practice of
retaliating against women complaining of sexual harassment by
requiring them to exit the truck except when they are a lead
driver or owner-operator.
Id. at 55. I noted that pursuant to Rule
23(c)(1)(C), the order could be altered or amended before
final judgment. Id. at 56.
subsequently moved for summary judgment on the retaliation
claim and decertification of the hostile work environment
class. See Doc. Nos. 171, 172. I granted both
motions on January 15, 2019. See Doc. No. 204. I
denied plaintiffs' motion to amend the decertification
order; motion to stay, or alternatively amend, the trial
scheduling order; and motion to certify final judgment upon
the class retaliation claims for appeal. See Doc.
No. 233. As such, only plaintiffs' individual claims of
hostile work environment, retaliation and constructive
discharge under Title VII remain. Those claims are now the
subject of CRST's motion for summary
judgment. See Doc. No. 2.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS
party may move for summary judgment regarding all or any part
of the claims asserted in a case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Summary
judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
material fact is one that “‘might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law.'”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). Thus, “the substantive law will identify which
facts are material.” Id. Facts that are
“critical” under the substantive law are
material, while facts that are “irrelevant or
unnecessary” are not. Id.
issue of material fact is genuine if it has a real basis in
the record, Hartnagel v. Norman, 953 F.2d 394, 395
(8th Cir. 1992) (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986)), or
when “‘a reasonable jury could return a verdict
for the nonmoving party' on the question.”
Woods v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 409 F.3d
984, 990 (8th Cir. 2005) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 248). Evidence that only provides “some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts, ” Matsushita,
475 U.S. at 586, or evidence that is “merely
colorable” or “not significantly probative,
” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50, does not make
an issue of material fact genuine.
such, a genuine issue of material fact requires
“sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual
dispute” so as to “require a jury or judge to
resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at
trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49. The
party moving for entry of summary judgment bears “the
initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis
for its motion and identifying those portions of the record
which show a lack of a genuine issue.”
Hartnagel, 953 F.2d at 395 (citing Celotex,
477 U.S. at 323). Once the moving party has met this burden,
the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and by
depositions, affidavits, or otherwise, designate specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Mosley v. City of Northwoods, 415 F.3d 908, 910 (8th
Cir. 2005). The nonmovant must show an alleged issue of fact
is genuine and material as it relates to the substantive law.
If a party fails to make a sufficient showing of an essential
element of a claim or defense with respect to which that
party has the burden of proof, then the opposing party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 322.
determining if a genuine issue of material fact is present, I
must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587-88.
Further, I must give the nonmoving party the benefit of all
reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the facts.
Id. However, “because we view the facts in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party, we do not weigh
the evidence or attempt to determine the credibility of the
witnesses.” Kammueller v. Loomis, Fargo &
Co., 383 F.3d 779, 784 (8th Cir. 2004). Instead,
“the court's function is to determine whether a
dispute about a material fact is genuine.” Quick v.
Donaldson Co., Inc., 90 F.3d 1372, 1376-77 (8th Cir.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted:
CRST's Business Model
a leading long-haul freight transportation company with more
than 3, 000 drivers at any one time. See Doc. No.
239-1 at 1. It operates by teaming two drivers per truck so
that one driver may rest while the other is driving, thus
allowing the truck to continue moving without violating
Department of Transportation daily limitations. Id.
at 2. Each truck contains a small sleeper berth area behind
the front seats containing bunk beds. Doc. No. 247-1 at 2.
has four terminals, which are located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa;
Riverside, California; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Carlisle,
Pennsylvania. Id. Drivers are subject to the same
policies whether on the road or at the terminal. Id.
When drivers join CRST, they are trained by “lead
drivers, ” or “leads, ” for a designated
period of time. Doc. No. 239-1 at 2. Lead drivers are
nominated by operations personnel and reviewed by the safety
department for placement into a certification class. Doc. No.
247-1 at 11. Lead drivers must pass a lead driver training
class. Id. Plaintiffs note there are approximately
25 female lead drivers out of over 500 leads at any given
time, but CRST denies this based on lack of factual
drivers are not permitted to operate a truck alone without
completing over-the-road training with a lead driver. Doc.
No. 239-1 at 2. Leads and students are paired up by a student
coordinator and a lead driver can request to work with a
particular student. Doc. No. 247-1 at 13. The lead driver
recommends to the driver manager whether the student should
be upgraded to co-driver status. Lead drivers generally work
with the same driver manager throughout the lead's
training of successive students and no one other than the
lead's driver manager is responsible for checking in with
students during their over-the-road training. Id.
Student drivers are road tested and separately evaluated by a
safety department trainer before being upgraded to a
co-driver. Doc. No. 239-1 at 3.
designated as a co-driver, the driver may team up with
another driver of his or her choosing. Id.
Plaintiffs note that this choice is limited to a list of
currently available drivers. Thus, for example, if a female
driver wishes to pair up with another female driver and one
is not currently available, she will be unpaid during the
time that she waits. Id. To find a co-driver, CRST
may provide a list of potential co-drivers, whom the
individual may call to see if the driver is available. Doc.
No. 247-1 at 16. Available co-drivers are also posted on
bulletin boards at CRST terminals and on CRST's Facebook
page. Id. CRST also hosts “meet and
greet” sessions at its terminals to encourage drivers
to interact and find compatible co-drivers. Id.
Drivers will often meet in person before deciding to drive
together. Once the driver finds a co-driver, he or she
informs her driver manager of the proposed pairing and, if
there are no restrictions,  the pair can begin driving and
earning pay. Id. at 17.
driving teams are supervised by a driver manager located in
Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Each driver manager has a fleet of trucks
for which he or she is responsible at any given time. Doc.
No. 247-1 at 6. Driver managers work on multiple shifts
covering the 24-hour day. Id. at 7. The after-hours
team size varies depending on the day of the week, load
volume and other variables. Id. Drivers and driver
managers communicate via phone, email, and CRST's
messaging system known as “Qualcomm.” Doc. No.
239-1 at 4. Driver managers are responsible for ensuring that
loads are delivered on time. They are evaluated on metrics
such as time percentage, overall mileage truck utilization,
expenses (cents per mile) and the number of trucks in
service. Id. Plaintiffs point out that if CRST buys
a bus ticket for a driver who gets off a truck due to a
sexual harassment complaint, that expense will be counted
against the driver manager's metric. Id. Driver
managers are also responsible for driver retention and
addressing conflicts amongst team drivers. Id.
Plaintiffs add that Human Resources (HR) also plays a role in
these tasks as it is responsible for investigating harassment
and discrimination complaints by drivers. Id. at 5.
CRST admits that if a driver manager fails to meet metrics,
it could jeopardize his or her continued employment, adding
that it uses a progressive disciplinary system relating to
driver manager performance results. Doc. No. 247-1 at 8-9.
Driver managers are evaluated on their metrics during their
annual performance review. The outcome of this evaluation
determines whether they are eligible for a salary increase or
bonus. Id. at 9. CRST denies that a driver manager
would ever be penalized for stopping a truck due to a Title
VII issue. Id.
are paid on a per-mile basis using a “split mileage
system.” This means that each driver is paid at his or
her personal rate for half of the total miles driven by the
truck (regardless of how many miles that driver actually
drives). Doc. No. 239-1 at 5. Personal rates vary with the
driver's length of experience. The starting rate for a
new driver depends on whether the driver has a license and
prior experience; a license and no prior experience; or a
license obtained through CRST-funded training and no
experience. Id. Pay increases are triggered based on
the length of service with CRST measured according to
calendar dates. As of October 15, 2013, a student
driver's pay rate increases one cent per mile following
completion of three months of service and provided that he or
she has been upgraded to co-driver status. Id. at
training for a student driver typically lasts 28 days if
uninterrupted. Id. at 6. If interrupted, whether due
to a sexual harassment complaint or otherwise, there is no
economic detriment unless the training extends beyond 90
days. Doc. No. 247-1 at 86. Students sign a
contract providing that they will continue working for CRST
for a specified period of time after their training to pay
CRST back for the value of the training. Doc. No. 239-1 at
10-11. CRST's driver contracts also contain
non-competition provisions and CRST has sued other carriers
for interfering with its driver employment contracts.
Id. at 11.
from the split mileage system of pay, CRST may provide other
compensation in certain circumstances. Id. For
instance, a driver may receive “layover pay” if a
truck is available from empty time to dispatched pickup for a
period of over 48 hours. Id. at 6-7. Drivers may
also receive compensation based on truck breakdown or
impassable highway conditions. Id. These rates are
standard regardless of the driver's experience.
Id. at 7.
CRST's Policies Regarding Sexual Harassment and
has a written policy prohibiting sexual harassment and
retaliation in the workplace. Doc. No. 239-1 at 7. Plaintiffs
deny that this policy is enforced. The policy is contained in
the Handbook and Statement of Policy that is distributed to
drivers and home office employees, including driver managers.
Id. at 8. The policy is also covered in a dedicated
session at driver orientation when each driver is provided a
stand-alone copy of the policy. Id. The policy
states that CRST “prohibits sexual harassment”
and states that those who report it “will NOT be
subject to ANY form of retaliation.” Id. The
policy also sets forth the complaint procedure and reporting
responsibilities. CRST's Code of Business Ethics also
addresses sexual harassment by requiring immediate reporting
“to the appropriate Supervisor or [HR].”
Id. The Handbook provides that “[i]f any
employee believes he or she is being subjected to verbal or
physical harassment, the employee should immediately contact
his or her Driver Manager or [HR] to inform them of the
situation and to request a new lead driver.”
Id. at 8-9. It further provides that “[a]n
employee has the right to request a new driver without fear
of retaliation. Any employee who reports any act of
harassment and/or discrimination will NOT be subject to ANY
form of retaliation.” Id. at 9. All drivers
sign an acknowledgement that they have received and reviewed
the CRST Driver's Handbook and Statement of Policy,
including the policies against sexual harassment and
retaliation. Id. Drivers must also certify their
understanding that employees who complain about harassment
will be removed from the harassing situation. The
I also understand and agree that if I believe I am being
subjected to harassment or discrimination, no matter how
severe or pervasive, I will immediately report it to my fleet
manager or to the Human Resources Department directly so that
I may be removed from the harassing situation and so CRST may
conduct a prompt investigation.
regard to reporting harassment, plaintiffs note that if it
occurs during business hours a driver can call HR with her
complaint, but this line is not staffed 24 hours per day and
she will be directed to voicemail if she calls during off
hours. Doc. No. 247-1 at 40. CRST notes that there are other
means for a driver to report harassment, such as contacting
her driver manager by Qualcomm or telephone, the report
hotline and after-hours driver managers. Id. at
40-41. With regard to the hotline, a staff member will take
notes regarding a victim's complaint, which will be sent
electronically to Karen Carlson, Manager of Employee
Relations. Id. at 41. The hotline staff member has
no authority to take any action on a driver's complaint.
Id. at 42.
contends that when it receives a complaint of sexual
harassment, the safety of the complaining driver is its first
priority. Plaintiffs deny this and cite affidavits from
plaintiffs in which they describe specific instances of
harassment and CRST's responses. See Doc. No.
239-1at 9-10. CRST's policy provides that when a
dispatcher receives a communication from a driver alleging
sexual harassment, it must take immediate steps to ensure the
safety of the complainant and advance the investigation into
the complaint. Id. at 10. Plaintiffs admit that
CRST's written policy provides for this, but denies that
it aligns with CRST's pattern or practice and cites
documents in which dispatchers failed to immediately separate
drivers or escalate the complaint to HR. Id.
same goes for the dispatchers' authority to separate
employees, arrange necessary accommodations and pay or
reimburse for accommodations. While plaintiffs admit that
dispatchers have this authority, they deny that dispatchers
consistently arrange accommodations and pay or reimburse for
these accommodations, alleging that employees many times have
to bear these costs. Id. at 11. Plaintiffs also deny
that CRST takes steps to separate the drivers quickly and
safely. Id. at 11-12 (citing declarations from
Fortune and others describing situations in which driver
managers asked complainants to stay on the truck after they
reported harassment). See also Doc. No. 247-1 at
42-43 (in which plaintiffs cite multiple examples (some
involving plaintiffs and some involving other drivers) in
which the driver manager asked the complainant to stay on the
truck for various reasons (to work things out with her
co-driver, to see if anything further happened, to reroute
the truck, to be dropped off at the next terminal, to allow
time to talk with the co-driver to see what was going on or
to finish one last load)).
agrees that its policy is to remove a woman complaining of
sexual harassment off the truck unless she is a lead driver
or an owner-operator. Doc. No. 247- 1 at 82. This is
CRST's policy regardless of whether the woman complaining
of harassment was using the truck before the allegedly
harassing co-driver joined her. Id. at 83. The
alleged harasser may continue driving depending on the
one driver makes a complaint about another driver, CRST
instructs its driver managers to remove the complainant from
the situation unless the complainant is the lead driver or
the owner-operator. Doc. No. 239-1 at 12. Plaintiffs deny
that this policy applies regardless of the nature of the
complaint, noting that all evidence cited by CRST in support
involves complaints of sexual harassment. Id.
Plaintiffs admit that all employees receive notice of
CRST's policy of removing the complaining party with
regard to harassment or discrimination complaints only.
Id. at 13.
has disciplined some driver managers for failing to
immediately involve HR upon receiving a complaint of sexual
harassment. Plaintiffs note that CRST does not have a
practice or policy in place to evaluate how driver managers
respond to sexual harassment complaints. Id. at 23.
They also contend that CRST produced only three forms
demonstrating disciplinary action for a driver manager's
failure to timely or properly respond to a complaint of sex
discrimination or sexual harassment since October 2016.
Id. at 23-24. See also Doc. No. 247-1 at
38-40 (in which plaintiffs discuss three instances in which
harassment by a lead driver was corroborated, but the lead
driver's certification was not revoked).
states its primary reason for removing the complainant is
based on safety. Plaintiffs deny this, stating it is a legal
argument rather than a statement of fact and that their
position is that CRST's primary reason for removing
complainants is retaliation. Id. at 14. CRST
contends there are numerous reasons for removing the
complainant from the truck, such as allowing her to seek any
necessary resources, including law enforcement, medical
attention and mental health care and to remove her from the
inherently dangerous and stressful aspects of truck driving
during a time when she may be experiencing distress.
Id. at 14 -15. It also contends that it gives the
complainant the opportunity and resources to gather and
transmit any necessary information to HR as part of the
investigation. Id. at 16. Plaintiffs deny each of
these statements as either argumentative or unsupported by
the evidence cited. Id. at 14-17. They admit that
when the complainant is a student or a driver who has been
harassed by an owner-operator, removing the complainant
complies with licensing and truck ownership rules. However,
they deny that differences in pay between the complainant who
has to get off the truck with no pay and the lead driver or
owner-operator who gets to continue driving and earning money
complies with any licensing or truck ownership rules.
Id. at 18-19. Plaintiffs acknowledge that in some,
but not all, instances CRST takes steps to pair the
complainant with a new co-driver at a later date.
1, 2015, CRST promulgated a new Layover Pay Policy specific
to individuals who complain of harassment or discrimination.
Id. at 19. CRST denies that this policy was related
in any way to plaintiffs' lawsuit. Doc. No. 247-1 at 82.
Plaintiffs deny that this policy was actually implemented on
that date. Doc. No. 239-1 at 19-20. They state that as of
July 2016, the policy was still not included in the Handbook,
was still in “draft form” and has not been
produced in any format in this case. Doc. No. 247-1 at 82-83.
CRST states that it is an HR practice that is not intended
for inclusion in the Handbook. Id. In any event, the
policy provides that when a complaint of harassment or
discrimination is made, the complainant will be removed from
the truck unless such removal would leave the truck without a
qualified driver. Doc. No. 239-1 at 20. Plaintiffs deny that
the complainant is provided with sufficient funds for lodging
and transportation, which she does not have to pay back,
stating that drivers have had to bear their own lodging and
transportation costs at times, especially before July 2015
when CRST did not cover any lodging or transportation
costs. Id. at 21. CRST will then pay HR
layover pay starting on the date that the employee is removed
from the truck and ending on the date the employee is paired
with a new co-driver. Plaintiffs deny this, noting that prior
to July 1, 2015, there was no layover pay and that even after
July 1, 2015, the layover pay ended on the date the employee
was offered a re-pairing, not the date that the employee
actually paired up with a new co-driver. Id. at
calculates its HR layover pay based on the highest minimum
wage in the country, which it then multiplies by 10 hours per
day. Id. at 22. It initially paid $100 per day and
now pays $110 per day. Id. Prior to July 2015, CRST
states that a complainant would have been eligible to receive
the standard layover pay of $40 per day if the delay between
re-pairing lasted over 48 hours. Plaintiffs deny this stating
that the written policy for the standard layover pay
(“[t]he truck must be available from empty time to
dispatched pickup time no less than 48 hours to qualify for 1
layover”) excludes the situation in which a driver is
removed from the truck. Id. at 22-23.
receives a complaint of sex discrimination or sexual
harassment, it enters it into its “Positive Work
Environment Employee Relations” spreadsheet and
commences an investigation. Plaintiffs dispute that CRST
immediately commences an investigation for lack of support.
The HR investigator will examine whether there are any prior
complaints against the accused driver,  consider any
relevant documents or communications, interview any available
witnesses,  interview the individual accused of
harassment and take into account any admissions by the
accused driver. The investigator will eventually determine
whether the complaint can be corroborated. The parties
disagree on what is necessary for CRST to find that a
complaint is corroborated. CRST maintains that corroboration
can be from a variety of resources and the test is whether HR
is “able to identify that the action was confirmed and
that it took place.” Id. at 28. Plaintiffs
cite Carlson's testimony, in which she stated that a
complaint could not be corroborated without eyewitness
testimony or an admission from the accused harasser.
denies that this is its policy or that it has ever had such a
policy. Id. at 29. CRST states that it may find
corroboration based on statements from the accused and
accuser, witnesses, pictures or messages. See also
Doc. No. 247-1 at 33-34. Plaintiffs cite evidence in which an
accused driver admitted to touching Lopez and making an
inappropriate comment, stating that it was a “joke,
” and Carlson conceded his conduct would be a violation
of the sexual harassment policy. The investigation form for
that incident does not reflect a finding of corroboration or
that the accused driver was disciplined. Doc. No. 239-1 at
states that even when a complaint is not deemed corroborated,
it nonetheless takes remedial measures by changing the
accused male driver's status to “male only”
and is never reassigned to drive with the accuser. Plaintiffs
disagree this is a remedial measure, stating that it is not
disciplinary,  does not reduce the driver's pay and
is not considered a disciplinary warning. Plaintiffs also
cite evidence in which Carlson admitted that she changed an
alleged harasser's status to “male only” to
provide him “a measure of protection from a similar
claim arising in the future.” Id. at 30. The
“male only” designation lasts indefinitely, can
be removed only by HR and produces an error message in the
driver database if anyone attempts an impermissible pairing.
The accused driver will also receive a copy of CRST's
policy prohibiting harassment via certified mail.
Id. at 30-31. This action is not disciplinary in any
way and the policy is also sent to the accuser. Id.
Plaintiffs state that it is CRST's “standard
response” to complaints of sexual harassment to
designate the accused driver to “male only.”
Id. at 34. CRST disagrees that the cited material
refers to CRST's “standard response, ” but
affirmatively states that if there is a complaint of sexual
harassment of discriminatory behavior by a female against a
male, the accused male driver will be changed to a
“male only” team preference and never reassigned
to drive with the accuser. Id.
states that if a complaint is corroborated, the accused
driver will face disciplinary action up to and including
termination. Doc. No. 239-1 at 31. Plaintiffs dispute this
stating that even if this is CRST's written policy, it is
not enforced. See also Doc. No. 247-1 at 38. They
cite six examples of complaints from female drivers (none
plaintiffs) that were corroborated but discipline was not
imposed on the accused driver. Doc. No. 239-1 at 32-33. HR
does not impose the discipline but recommends a course of
action to the respective driver manager. Doc. No.
239-1. at 33. Plaintiffs deny that it is a
“recommendation” from HR, citing deposition
testimony from driver managers in which they indicate they do
what HR instructs them to do and have no input of their own.
However, plaintiffs state in their own statement of facts
that the driver manager has authority to decide what
discipline should be imposed, subject to being overruled by
their supervising operations manager. Doc. No. 247-1 at 35.
states that discipline may involve verbal warnings, written
warnings, counseling sessions with HR or other departments,
removal of lead driver certification or termination. Doc. No.
239-1 at 34. Plaintiffs note there is not factual support
that counseling sessions have ever taken place outside of
Positive Work Environment training, which takes one to three
hours and has no actual disciplinary impact (as it does not
impact a driver's pay, is not a suspension or a written
warning). Id. Carlson testified that “any
corroborated harassment . . . of a Title VII nature”
will result in termination. Doc. No. 247-1 at 36. However,
she noted that some circumstances may not amount to true
sexual harassment or discrimination under Title VII
guidelines. Id. Plaintiffs bring up instances in
which HR found the complaint was corroborated, but the driver
was not terminated or his lead certification revoked.
Id. at 36-39. CRST objects to this evidence as
containing inadmissible hearsay (in the form of complaints by
drivers recorded by HR investigators) and immaterial to the
issues as they do not involve complaints by plaintiffs.
Id. at 36-39.
state that CRST has been aware of allegations of sexual
harassment from its female drivers for years. Id. at
21. They cite lawsuits filed by the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against CRST, including one in
which 270 women were identified as having been sexually
harassed while working at CRST. Id. at 22. CRST
denies that any of these prior lawsuits are material to the
issues in this case. Id. Plaintiffs also state that
beginning in December 2013, CRST had logged over 60
complaints of sexual harassment in the preceding 14-month
period, beginning in October 2012. Id. at 23.
state that in late 2013 or early 2014, Carlson suggested
installing cameras on CRST trucks during a meeting with
CRST's President and its Director of HR. Id.
at 28. She received a “neutral response” to the
suggestion. Id. Around August 2014, CRST created a
contest in which employees could submit ideas relating to
“how to make the environment great for the
drivers.” Id. at 29. Carlson again suggested
installing cameras on team trucks. She stated, “So many
of my investigations including those such as physical
altercations, inappropriate verbal comments, throwing the
Qualcomm, sexual misconduct, etc. are hearsay and there are
no witnesses. I feel that a camera on each truck would
mitigate the possibility of misconduct.” Id.
She received no substantive response to this suggestion.
Id. She also suggested mandatory time on the truck
for each driver manager to “see what life on a truck is
like, ” noting that drivers would routinely say that
driver managers had no idea what it was like on the road and
she agreed. Id. Carlson also recommended an
“undercover boss” program to monitor the
performance of lead drivers because she received the most
complaints about them. Id. at 30. She also felt
there should be further training for lead drivers and that
the criteria for promoting a driver to lead was insufficient.
Id. at 30-31.
2016, HR discussed a potential change in policy to terminate
or otherwise suspend CRST managers who failed to report
complaints of sexual harassment. Plaintiffs contend CRST has
not produced any records of policy changes with respect to
disciplining managers who fail to report complaints. CRST
admits that no policy change occurred with respect to
discipline of managers, noting its policy already provides
that managers may be terminated for failing to report
complaints. Id. at 31.
Plaintiffs' Commencement of Employment with
Sellars attended CRST's new driver orientation in
Riverside, California, in December 2013. She signed the
acknowledgment of the anti-harassment policy on December 11,
2013, and acknowledged receiving the driver handbook on
December 16, 2013. Doc. No. 239-1 at 34-35.
Fortune attended new driver orientation in Cedar Rapids,
Iowa, in October 2013. She signed the acknowledgment of the
anti-harassment policy on October 14, 2013, and acknowledged
receiving the driver handbook that same day.
Lopez attended trucking school at Hawkeye Community College
in Waterloo, Iowa. After graduation, she attended CRST's
new driver orientation in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in May 2014.
Id. at 35. She signed the anti-harassment policy
acknowledgment and acknowledged receiving the driver handbook
on May 8, 2014. Id. at 35-36. CRST asked Lopez to
repeat Positive Work Environment training after she was
accused of sexual harassment. Lopez argues this was a false
accusation by an individual who caused Lopez to feel
threatened herself. Id. at 36. On May 13, 2014, a
CRST shuttle driver made a complaint against Lopez stating
that she threated to claim he tried to rape her if he did not
take her where she wanted to go. Lopez states she felt
threatened by the shuttle driver and told him she would
scream that he tried to rape her if he tried to do anything
other than take her to the CVS store where she was permitted
to go get medicine. Id. Lopez told HR that she was
joking about the incident because “after being sexually
harassed previously while undergoing CRST training, she was
nervous, defensive, and still felt threatened for her
safety.” Id. at 36-37. She was counseled about
the incident and received retraining on CRST's policies.
Id. at 37.
was paired with a female lead driver to complete her training
but stopped due to an alleged injury that was the subject of
a workers' compensation claim. Id. Sellars
states she was injured during a sexual assault by a previous
CRST trainer, Dwain Monroe, and that this injury was the
cause of her receiving workers' compensation and hospital
treatment, which prolonged her training. She denies that she
was paired with a female lead driver to complete training but
did not do so due to her injury. Id.
completed her training with Lydell Wilkerson. She states that
she was paired with him after she complained about being
sexually harassed by her previous trainer, James Woods, and
upon getting off Woods' truck, had to drive from Iowa to
California and then take a bus from California to Arizona to
meet with Wilkerson. Id. at 37-38.
completed training with the first driver with whom she was
Plaintiffs' Allegations Against Other
Sellars and Lydell Wilkerson
drove for CRST from December 2013 to March 2014. Prior to
Sellars' December 2013 allegations, Fortune drove with
lead driver Wilkerson and had a good driving experience.
Id. at 38. On Sellars' first day at the
Riverside Terminal in December 2013 she alleges that
Wilkerson stared at her, made offensive remarks to her and
forcefully grabbed her while demanding to know why she would
not sleep with him. Id. Sellars left the room when
he first made these offensive remarks, but she alleges that
he approached her again and told her he wanted to “go
down on [her]” and “eat [her].”
Id. Sellars reported Wilkerson's conduct to the
front desk. In a separate incident, Wilkerson allegedly began
staring at Sellars while she was talking to another person.
Sellars asked what he wanted and he came and stood directly
behind her. She then told him she was showing another driver
photos of ...