Prime, Inc has come under fire from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 2011, the EEOC filed a lawsuit claiming that Prime had unfair hiring practices that discriminated against women. Recently a federal judge ruled in favor of the EEOC, saying that Prime was violating federal law. The issue involved however is a little more complicated than it may seem.
The problem stems from Prime’s policy that female drivers must train with a female driver trainer. This policy on its own seems to make sense in light of all-too-common complaints of harassment from female trainees being forced to live in close quarters with male trainers. In fact it was adopted just after a sexual harassment lawsuit was brought against Prime by one of its female trainees.
From a carrier’s point of view the policy can easily be seen as both a compassionate and a sensible rule that limits liability and risk of a lawsuit. Of course the results of the policy were different than what was originally intended.
The unexpected byproduct of their policy was that female trainees sometimes had to wait long periods of time before a female driver trainer was available, making it harder for female drivers to join up than for male drivers. The EEOC claimed that female trainees sometimes had to wait as long as 18 months for a trainer to become available.
The court case will continue with determining what damages are payable to the class of women who were affected by the policy and how to remedy the problem.
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