US judge orders EEOC to pay $4.7M legal bill

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A judge has ordered the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to pay an Iowa trucking company $4.7 million in legal costs for bringing frivolous claims during a six-year sexual harassment lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Linda Reade’s judgment for CRST Van Expedited is believed to be the largest-ever fee sanction against EEOC.

EEOC spokeswoman Christine Nazer said Tuesday the agency is “deeply disappointed” in last week’s ruling and considering an appeal.

EEOC sued Cedar Rapids-based CRST in 2007 on behalf of female employees who had allegedly suffered sexual harassment by male drivers and trainers.

CRST paid $50,000 to settle one woman’s claim, but more than 250 others were dismissed. Reade says EEOC brought 153 “unreasonable or groundless” claims and made an unsupported allegation that CRST had a practice of tolerating harassment.

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