Thursday, May 30, 2024

"Why would you want a man's job?" = big job interview no-no, says EEOC in lawsuit

"Why would you want a man's job?" Why do you want to take a job away from a man?"

Those interview questions are at the center of a lawsuit the EEOC filed against Waste Industries, a solid waste removal, recycling pickup, and landfill operation business.

Christine Ladd submitted an online application for a Front Load Driver position at Waste Industries. The position requires a valid Commercial Driver's License and at least three years of driving experience; Ladd met the former and exceeded the latter, both but did not get a job offer following the above-referenced interview.

The EEOC alleges that Ladd's experience was the tip of the sex-discrimination iceberg at Waste Industries. Other women, the EEOC alleges, had similar or worse interview experiences, including one called "prissy, like girly girls," and another called the "girl with the big booty." In its sex-discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that Waste Industries hired less qualified male applicants for driver positions and that its hiring process resulted in statistically significant hiring shortfalls for females in driver positions.

A federal magistrate judge recently recommended that Waste Industries' motion to dismiss the EEOC's lawsuit be denied. The issues argued on that motion were technical — whether the EEOC must specific metrics or data to support its allegation that the hiring process resulted in the hiring fewer female truck drivers (it doesn't); and whether the court can consider alleged discriminatory practices outside of the agency's 300-day charge-filing window (it can, because the company's alleged pattern or practice of failing to hire women for truck driver positions is a "continuing violation," although the magistrate admits there is a clear circuit split on this issue).

Thus, the EEOC's claims will proceed to discovery and, absent a settlement, a decision on the merits. This is a good thing, because these types of discriminatory hiring practices based on stereotypes about women that are long past their expiration date should not be permitted to exist in any way, shape, or form in our workplaces.