When the school bus comes and whisks the kids off to class in the morning, you may occasionally think, "I wonder who the bus driver really is?"
But rarely, we bet, do you ever ask, "I wonder who the boss of the school bus driver really is?"
Well, in once instance at least, the answer appears to be a man who grabs breasts, exposes himself and rubs his private parts on female school bus drivers, all the while promising extra shifts to the women who acquiesce and punishing those who don't.
Welcome to the behind-the-scenes world of First Student Inc., the largest school bus contractor in the United States, which shuttles kids back and forth to LA's public schools.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, First Student will pay $150,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim against it in wherein a supervisor in Los Angeles was accused of harassing four women, including bus drivers and a human resources assistant.
The allegations are that the supervisor was constantly making remarks about the women's bodies and what he wanted to do to them. Things took a turn for the worse when the supervisor exposed himself, grabbed a bus driver's breasts and then rubbed his private parts on her, the EEOC claims.
When a bus driver declined the supervisor's advances, says the EEOC, the supervisor cut her hours. He promised extra hours to any woman who would let him have his way.
But the abuse apparently didn't stop there.
The EEOC says that the women reported the abuse up the chain of command and filed a complaint with a manager, who was of course a man. The manager did help, only it wasn't the women he was aiding.
The EEOC asserts that after the manager received the complaint he proceeded to discipline one of the victims and transferred another in retaliation. Three of the female employees felt forced to resign.
In the settlement, First Student agrees not only to pay the $150,000, but also to hire an outside consultant to overhaul the complaint procedures and investigations of sexual harassment claims and to create a system to track sexual harassment complaints once they've been lodged.
First Student will implement these changes to its operations in LA and Orange counties and the EEOC, like a disappointed schoolmarm, will monitor the company to make sure that it complies.