Railway Refused to Promote Woman to Yardmaster Position, Federal Agency Charged
BALTIMORE – Norfolk Southern Railway Corporation, one of the nation’s premier transportation companies, will pay $60,000 and provide other relief, including providing a job to a discrimination victim, to settle a federal sex discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today
The EEOC charged that the railroad engaged in unlawful sex discrimination when it refused to provide Kathryn Class with training required for her to be promoted to a yardmaster position. The railroad removed Class from yardmaster training and replaced her with a less qualified male employee, claiming that it removed her from the training based on its policy prohibiting individuals from directly or indirectly supervising, or being supervised by, a relative. The EEOC argued, however, that the railroad intentionally discriminated against Class based on her sex because, notwithstanding its anti-nepotism policy, the railroad has employed many male employees who supervised, or who were supervised by, a relative.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in training and promotions based on sex. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Civil Action No. 09-02566, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
In addition to the $60,000 in monetary relief to Class, the three-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit requires Norfolk Southern to offer her the next vacant position of yardmaster at its Baltimore terminal, consistent with applicable labor agreements. The company is enjoined from refusing to hire or promote employees based on sex and must provide annual training on the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The railroad must also post a remedial notice and report to the EEOC on any denials of promotions pursuant to its anti-nepotism policy.
“The EEOC will take action when employers use company policies or practices to deprive women of equal training and employment opportunities,” said Spencer H. Lewis, Jr., district director for the EEOC’s Philadelphia District, which has jurisdiction over Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
EEOC Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “In addition to the monetary relief to Ms. Class, the consent decree provides important remedial relief designed to eliminate discriminatory barriers to career advancement and promotions for all female employees at this major employer.”
In fiscal year 2010, sex-based charge filings with the EEOC soared to a record high level of 29,029 charges.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.