The EEOC and Yellow Transportation, Inc. and YRC, Inc., entered into a consent decree in June that will settle the hostile work environment, racial harassment, and discrimination lawsuit that the EEOC filed against Yellow Transportation and YRC on behalf of 324 African-American employees worked at the Chicago Ridge facility.
Under the terms of the consent decree, YRC, which was formed when Yellow Transportation and Roadway Express combined their operations in 2008, will pay $11 million to the harassment and discrimination victims.
The EEOC had alleged that African-American employees were subjected to a racially hostile work environment that included numerous incidents of racist graffiti, comments, cartoons, and hangman’s nooses. According to the EEOC, black employees were given more difficult work assignments and were subjected to harsher discipline and scrutiny than their white coworkers.
Many black employees allegedly complained about the hostile work environment over the course of several years, but the company allegedly did not take effective action to stop the discrimination and harassment.
This is not the first time that YRC has been sued for race discrimination by the EEOC. YRC’s Chicago Heights facility was the subject of a separate lawsuit by the EEOC against YRC with similar allegations of a racially hostile work environment, and YRC ultimately paid $10 million in 2010 to settle the lawsuit. That first consent decree (Chicago Heights) will also protect the victims of the second lawsuit at Chicago Ridge.
Chicago Regional Attorney John Hendrickson said, “This case is the second large race case the Chicago office has resolved with YRC in recent years. The company has now had to pay out $21 million to resolve egregious racial harassment and discrimination at two of its facilities. Employers should not believe that, because they are in an industry – like trucking – that is known for rough working conditions, they can ignore discrimination when it arises. A noose is not an acceptable symbol there or anywhere else – that’s the law.”