One of the unintended consequences of big government is that agencies have to justify their existence by finding and attacking windmills. Imagine being an Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) worker whose job is to stamp out sexual harassment in the work place. Problem number one is you must sniff out the evil sexual-harassment-doers, and that is not so easy. Promotions and bonuses may depend on creating a track record of finding and stomping on the bad companies that practice sexual harassment in the work place. You must find and pursue cases to prove you are good at your job. What if instead of one EEOC anti-sexual-harassment champion of justice the EEOC employs ten or one hundred or one thousand?
Many times the power and unlimited legal resources (translation: money is no object) of the EEOC causes small businesses to cower and cave-in and agree to the claims made by the big, bad all-knowing EEOC. Most businesses just do not have the funds, the time or the willingness to engage in a lengthy and expensive court battle. Recently, however, CRST Van Expedited, a trucking company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, fought and won a very expensive lawsuit brought by the EEOC in 2007. The judge in the case said, “the EEOC has not compiled the failings of CRST’s managers in any meaningful way to show that CRST has a pattern or practice of tolerating sexual harassment in its workplace.” Oops! Three years of litigation and no evidence of sexual harassment in the workplace. The judge ordered the EEOC to take $4.56 million from the taxpayers and pay it to CRST Van Expedited for its attorneys fees and costs. That is a lot of money, but it illustrates how expensive it is to litigate, which is why so many defendants cannot or will not spend the money to defend against the allegations of the EEOC.
It would be nice if some heads rolled at the EEOC and the people who were responsible for pursuing this big loser case would be fired or at least disciplined and demoted. Unfortunately, government rewards incompetence so there is no chance the EEOC perpetrators will suffer any adverse consequences for costing the government $4.56 million plus the time and cost of EEOC personnel who wasted government resources prosecuting the EEOC harassment lawsuit.