The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Railway Failed to Promote Woman to Yardmaster Position, Federal Agency Charges

BALTIMORE – One of the nation’s premier transportation companies engaged in unlawful sex discrimination when it refused to provide a female employee with training necessary to obtain a pro­motion to a yardmaster position, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

The railroad removed Kathryn Class from yardmaster training and replaced her with a less qualified male employee, the EEOC said in its lawsuit against Norfolk Southern Railway Company (Civil Action No. 1:09-cv-02566-RDB), filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The company claims it removed her from the training class based on its policy prohibiting individuals from directly or indirectly supervising, or being supervised by, a relative. The EEOC charged this reason was but a ruse for sex discrimination because, despite this policy, the railroad has employed male employees who were supervised by a relative, or who supervised a relative.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964prohibits discrimination in training and promotions based on sex. The EEOC attempted to reach a voluntary settlement before filing its lawsuit. The EEOC seeks injunctive relief, including policies, procedures and training to prevent future workplace discrimination. The EEOC also seeks to have the company compensate Class for her monetary losses and emotional pain and humiliation.

“Everyone deserves the freedom to compete in the workplace on a fair and level playing field, without discriminatory barriers to advancement,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “Title VII protects women as they attempt to move into traditionally male-dominated occupations.”

In Fiscal Year 2008, sex-based filings with the EEOC jumped to 28,372, an increase of 14% from the prior fiscal year.

According to Norfolk Southern Corporation’s web site,, its subsidiary Norfolk Southern Railway Company operates approximately 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Norfolk Southern is North America’s largest rail carrier of metals and automotive products.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

This page was last modified on October 2, 2009.

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