The lawsuit, filed against privately-held PJAX Inc. in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, contends PJAX’s owners and managers have harassed female employees in Pittsburgh since at least May 1999 by calling them sexually derogatory names and making them perform chores such as picking up laundry and cleaning the owners’ cars. Further, the Pittsburgh suit alleges the women were asked to perform sexual favors for a manager’s bookie to help reduce a gambling debt, according to an Associated Press report.
In the Baltimore lawsuit, the EEOC said PJAX failed to hire an estimated 200 women for jobs traditionally held by men, including drivers and dockworkers.
The lawsuits stem from two discrimination complaints filed with the EEOC: one by a veteran female truck driver who claimed PJAX refused to hire her because of her gender and age, 55 at the time; the other by a male PJAX manager who said he was fired for protesting the company’s discrimination against females, older applicants and those with disabilities.
PJAX denied any wrongdoing and intends to “vigorously defend” its employment practices, said Roxanne Germ, PJAX’s director of employee benefits. Germ said federal regulations establish minimum qualifications for drivers, including “relevant driving experience and history of drug and alcohol use.” “In this matter, allowing the EEOC to require that PJAX hire unqualified drivers would compromise (the company’s) responsibilities,” Germ said.
The EEOC is requesting PJAX put a stop to the discriminatory practices and pay the women for losses, pain and humiliation. Further, the agency is pursuing punitive damages of up to $300,000.