A lot has been said and written about sexual harassment in the trucking industry lately. We have many female truck drivers’ stories to look at, about their trainers and things that go on while on the road or things going on in truck stops.
We all are going to have to step back and think about ways to prevent sexual harassment and ways to make life more livable for everyone. You all know the saying if we don’t help ourselves no one else will.
Change Going to Come
Change is probably one of the most challenging things for people to deal with, but we all know change is going to come. Industries all over the world have gone through many changes over the past few years. The trucking industry is no different when you think about all that has happened in just the last twenty years. I guess one of the most noticeable is the difference between trucks and technology. It was only a few years ago that we had no power steering, air ride or air ride seats and the advancements in technology are way too many to talk about here.
Also, we can talk about truck stops and truck stop restaurants. They are a lot nicer now and have much better food. A lot of you can remember the old showers where you had to wear your flip-flops, just in case something was growing on the floor. Yes, we have a lot of healthier food and much cleaner truck stops than we had twenty years ago. It reminded me of the old west or the old gold mine towns when women moved in. Men had to learn to clean up their act and become more civilized.
Changes are coming about; instead, we like them, or not and much as we don’t like it, there is not a lot we can do. Because trucks are more comfortable to drive and all the powers that be say we have a severe shortage of good drivers, women are moving into the industry more and more every day. The best thing we can do is make the best of it.
Bad Publicity Examples
Truck drivers have gained a bad reputation and most of it we brought on ourselves. For years everyone has been talking about the language on the CB Radios, we all know what that is like, but I can say it had gotten better lately than it was say twenty years ago when people didn’t care what they said.
Women have always been a minority in the industry, and probably will continue to be, because let us face it, it takes a particular type of person to be a truck driver, rather it be a man or woman, but it is especially difficult for women. Now more and more we hear stories about sexual harassment in driving schools, with trainers and at truck stops.
Me Too/Me Everybody
The “Me Too” movement was started in 2006 as part of a grassroots campaign to promote empowerment among women of color who have experienced sexual abuse in underprivileged communities worldwide. Over the years, it has changed and expanded. In 2017 women were encouraged to use the phrase as a way to reveal the extent of problems with sexual harassment and assault by showing how many people have experienced these events themselves.
A 2017 poll by ABC News found that 54% of American women report receiving “unwanted and inappropriate” sexual advances with 95% saying that this behavior goes unpunished. The #MeToo movement also is promoting the need for men to intervene when they witness demeaning behavior.
In the coverage of #MeToo, there have been discussions about the best way for sufferers of sexual abuse to stop what is happening to them at work. There is agreement that the lack of competent reporting options is a significant factor that drives unchecked sexual misconduct in the workplace.
A recent article in FreightWaves highlights the problem that is brewing in the trucking industry. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit this week against the carrier Prime Inc alleging Prime did not take adequate steps to prevent sexual harassment of a female truck driver. The regional attorney for the EEOC in the St. Louis District stated: “Every employer must take adequate steps to prevent sexual in their workplace, whether that workplace is an office, a kitchen, or on a truck.”
Prime Inc has had other problems with the EEOC, so this is not the first. In 2016 the carrier settled a case for $3.1 million and was forced to make job offers to women who alleged they were victims of the company’s discriminatory hiring policy. There are several other things involved here, and you can read the entire article in FreightWaves.
Many of you may have seen the recent Diane Sawyer program on ABC News about the female driver at CRST, Expedited Inc, a company of about 3,500 drivers. In June 2017, this driver said she had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from another driver while she was parked at the CRST terminal in Riverside, CA. She soon learned she wasn’t alone. CRST has faced allegations of sexual harassment for several years, and now we have 300 women involved in a class action lawsuit against CRST for many kinds of sexual misconduct and harassment.
Avoid Sexual Harassment
How to avoid sexual harassment and ways to prevent sexual misconduct is something that should prevail throughout the trucking industry, large corporations and regular mom-and-pop companies in America. It is causing all sorts of problems in the workplace and at home with the families involved, not to mention all the money involved here. In the end who gets rich with these types of deals?
The trucking industry has always been a male-dominated industry as are many industries in America. For years, it was thought that Wall Street should be male only, but now we are finding that female investors make outstanding brokers and managers of hedge funds. What about women in the men’s locker room after a sporting event? Women are finding their way into more and more boardrooms every day and men have to accept it and find ways to deal with it. What men say in the company of only men will never change, same as women in the company of single women.
I guess the only profession similar to trucking would be the military. It is the only profession where men and women live together 24 hours a day. The military still has its problems, but they are not as bad as when cohabitation was first brought about. Men were not designed to be passive creatures, and it is a hard adjustment for them to be with a woman every day and night, especially in their younger days, in the prime of their life, you men know what I mean. However, men we have to learn how to handle this new world. Change is going to come.
Women Can Change Too!
Just as men have to change, women are going to have to change too. A woman, for instance, cannot dress in a provocative way and not expect some reaction from her male counterpart. Women should not talk in suggestive ways or make intriguing statements, as men will take them in a way that you don’t want them to.
There are many things involved here and many sides to this problem. We all know of women who will do what they can to get a man into a dangerous situation, as there is a tremendous amount of money here, with some very profitable trucking companies. That is all the more reason for men to do all they can to keep from getting into a terrible position. I would not blame a man if he did not want to train a woman driver at all.
Sexual harassment is not just a problem in the trucking industry, but much of this would be put to an end if people were held accountable. We hear story after story about men involved in the sexual harassment of women, a slap on the wrist is about all that happens and the man still has his job. Then there is the matter of a woman falsely accusing a man, she ends up a hero on the evening news, and the man’s life is destroyed. If they knew there would be severe consequences for their actions, this might end.
In the end, men and women are to blame for this situation, but the more we can keep the government and overpaid lawyers out of our lives the better off we will be. Everyone knows the confusion caused by the ELD Mandate, think what will happen if the government starts making all kind of rules and regulations about men and women co-drivers in the trucking industry.
All the bad publicity generated by the news media, the more lawsuits that are brought about, plus all the money being spent by these trucking companies to defend these lawsuits, is not doing the industry any good at all. Let us see if all the drivers, men, and women, can stand up and take care of this on our own before it gets out of hand.
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