Sellars v. CRST Expedited, Inc., No. 19-2708 (8th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, female truck drivers, filed suit against CRST alleging Title VII claims of retaliation and hostile work environment on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, as well as individual constructive discharge claims on behalf of themselves. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of CRST on the class and individual retaliation claims, as well as on the individual hostile work environment and constructive discharge claims.
The Eighth Circuit concluded that CRST's removal policy does not constitute per se retaliation. With respect to the pre-2015 members of the class, the court concluded that the removal policy led to a net decrease in the women's pay; the removal policy was materially adverse; but there was no direct evidence that CRST had any motivative discriminatory bias. With respect to the post-2015 members of the class, the court concluded that these members were subject to adverse employment and the district court should address in the first instance the question whether direct or circumstantial evidence establishes that CRST took this adverse employment action in retaliation for the post-2015 class members' Title VII-protected activity.
In regard to plaintiffs' individual hostile work environment claims, the court concluded that Plaintiff Fortune has not created a genuine factual dispute whether CRST's response was actionably deficient; plaintiffs have not established the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact whether CRST knew or should have known about ongoing coworker-on-coworker harassment and thereafter failed to take prompt remedial action that was reasonably calculated to end it; and plaintiffs have failed to show such discrimination on the part of CRST itself and therefore have failed to show that the employer created intolerable working conditions or took otherwise discriminatory action. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings.