Thursday, July 13, 2006

United Freight Browbeaten Into $95,000 Settlement Of Gender Discrimination Complaint By EEOC

Anchorage trucker Shotsay Posciri won a $95,000 settlement after charging that Anchorage-based United Freight and Transport didn't hire her because she was a woman, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced this week. Click here for the full story from the Anchorage Daily News published on July 13th, 2006.

In 2004, Shotsay Posciri applied for a job with United Freight. Not only had she amassed 20,000 hours as a driver, with varied experience ranging from building ice roads on the North Slope to driving 18-wheelers, but had an excellent driving record and solid recommendations from previous bosses, according to Teri Healy, the EEOC's lawyer for the case. However, when she wasn't hired, she filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC the same year.

The EEOC took up the case in 2005, and during the course of their "investigation", found patterns of decision-making and thinking which they apparently considered to be "substantiation". Healy said United Freight had hired few women in the past and none since a new president took over in 2000, and it had no structured training on employee rights.

Another EEOC official, Joan Ehrlich, who is the director of the commission's San-Francisco-headquartered region including Alaska, also stated that during the investigation, one male employee suggested women were only fit to drive 'bunny' trucks, meaning smaller vehicles. Ehrlich characterized this off-hand remark as an example of the kind of antiquated thinking which artificially limits the opportunities of qualified women.

However, Bill Evans, an attorney at Dorsey & Whitney who represented United Freight, stated that the company chose another applicant because he had specific, tailored experience driving in the Port of Anchorage while Posciri didn't, and that a senior driver who tested both applicants on the same route said Posciri's competitor did better. Evans further stated that the company did NOT discriminate, but settled merely to avoid more protracted and expensive litigation in court.

The agreement requires United Freight not only to fork over $95,000, but to also provide anti-discrimination training [Ed. Note: Soviet-style "re-education"] to employees for the next four years, to revise its policies, and post notices of the settlement, the commission said. However, according to the EEOC, the money is only part of the issue; other purported goals include changing company culture at United Freight so women will have the freedom to compete, and to send a message to all companies with a history of refusing to hire women for traditionally male-dominated jobs.

United Freight and Transport did not return calls from the media on Wednesday afternoon (July 12th).

Analysis: Where do I begin? First problem: Assuming that "less experienced" drivers were hired instead of her. What does the EEOC mean by "less experienced"? The senior driver who tested the applicants claimed her competition had more "port-specific" experience. This is an important discriminator. Driving trucks in a congested port environment with multiple types of cargo, much of it hazardous, requires a different set of skills than driving on ice roads on the uncongested North Slope. Apparently the EEOC was not concerned about that distinction.

Let's apply this analogy to the airline industry. Let's say a guy who has 10 years flying experience, all of it in props, competes with several pilots who have only five years experience, all of it in jets. Must the airline company hire the 10-year guy just to avoid a complaint? If the position description requires specialized experience as well as general experience, the specialized experience should be allowed take precedence. Since when are fat-assed do-nothing, contribute-nothing, computer stool-perching Federal bureaucrats more qualified to determine hiring than experienced supervisors and personnel managers?

Second problem: Assuming a "culture of discrimination" exists. How does the failure to hire women in and of itself constitute "discrimination"? How does one off-hand remark about "bunny trucks" constitute "discrimination"? How many women applied for jobs? What percentage were rejected, as compared with male applicants? Maybe there are legitimate reasons why male-dominated jobs are male-dominated; perhaps they require greater strength, or there is simply less female interest. Are we going to frog-march women through the doors of United Freight and force them to accept jobs at gunpoint just to prove "equality"? What the EEOC is doing is prescribing equal outcome rather than equal opportunity. The EEOC itself admits that there is only a 50% substantiation rate of gender-discrimination complaints. And if one off-hand remark is to be cited as "evidence", consider the implications. Every workcenter will be transformed into a Stalinist gulag in the cultural sense, with cowed employees skulking about about in mortal fear of being tagged with a complaint by the 21st century zampolits, or "equality police".

Third problem: Outright misrepresentation by the EEOC. There is no need to change company culture to permit "freedom to compete". Posciri received a full opportunity to compete for the position. The fact that another candidate was chosen does not imply lack of competition. In a free market society, the freedom to compete does not come packaged with a guarantee of success.

Final problem: United Freight settled rather than fought. This is understandable, since companies not only fear adverse publicity, but live in dread of being tagged "racist" or "sexist", since these are portrayed as unforgiveable sins by the secular cultural elite. Also, the Federal government can bring limitless resouces to bear, and a relatively small company like United Freight simply could not compete financially. However, the failure to contest such action merely encourages more of these witch-hunts, and, if there was actual discrimination, it would never come out in trial, because there would be no trial. It's obvious the EEOC is more interested in repression and self-perpetuation rather than justice.

Tags: , , , ,


  1. its because of this kind of caveman type thinking that EEOC is around,
    you dont know what happened your just running your mouth

  2. If you have to sue a business in order to get hired, never: 1) show up late - or early! - for work, 2) leave early or late, 3) ask for time off for any reason except where explicitly allowed in the benefits package, 4) speak, 5) appear bored or other "not busy", 6) damage equipment regardless of how minor.

    In all ways, it is better to suck it up and accept that you didn't get hired. There are other jobs.

    This from a male secretary (and former UFT employee) who has trouble finding work because of his gender.