Federal Agency Claimed Railroad Refused to Hire Female Foreman
LOS ANGELES – Union Pacific Railroad will pay $75,000 and furnish significant relief measures to settle a sex discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC’s suit charged that Union Pacific refused to hire a female applicant to a system material foreman position at its Glamis, Calif., facility, even though she had more seniority than the other applicants. For years, the woman had worked on the rails alongside men, said the EEOC, and she had already been an assistant foreman in the division. The agency believes that, had she been hired, she would have been the first female system material foreman in the nation.
Sex discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
“Many women are qualified and ready to get to work in traditionally male-dominated industries; all they need is an equal opportunity,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office, which has jurisdiction over the Southern California region. “We commend Union Pacific for making the kinds of institutional reforms that will help remove barriers for women in the railroad industry.”
The three-year, court-enforced consent decree settling the suit will require Union Pacific to revise its policies regarding discrimination against women. The decree will also require Union Pacific to train supervisors and managers regarding sex discrimination, as well as report on its efforts to prevent discrimination to the EEOC. Once given final approval by the court, the decree will settle the case of EEOC v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., Civil Case No. 07-1707, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Olophius Perry, director of the federal agency’s Los Angeles District Office, said, “This case should remind employers that just because discrimination may have been tolerated in a particular industry in the past does not make it right. Federal law requires employers to base hiring on one’s qualifications and ability to do the job -- not on whether the person is a man or a woman.”
According to its web site, www.unionpacific.com, Omaha-based Union Pacific Railroad is the largest railroad in North America, covering 23 states across two-thirds of the United States.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.