Female Forced To Train In Sleeper With Male?

Topic 8367 | Page 1

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Emily H.'s Comment
member avatar

I just started a new job with a pretty large company. Got stuck on a technicality and I have to go through a 4 week training program even though I'm experienced. Pre-hire I was asked if I would be ok with training with a male in a sleeper since I am a young female. I said "no" every time. I was assured on 3 different occasions that a female would be provided. So I took my dream job on a dedicated route.

Long story short, shortly after arriving at orientation on Monday, I was told that there are no female trainers in my division. They have given me 2 options. I can transfer to another division (all of which have significant pay decreases, less home time, and not at all what I would have left my last company for) or I can submit to train with a male. They are threatening me with a 6 month contract I signed to force me to stay with the company.

Is this legal? I thought I heard somewhere that companies can't force females to train with males in a sleeper if they aren't comfortable with it (which I'm NOT). And I'm pretty sure that they can't hire me and force me to switch positions simply because I am a female and require a female trainer. Doesn't that go against Equal Opportunity Employment under sex discrimination? (Not my fault they hired me into a position where they couldn't train me. I passed all of the requirements and it was made clear from the beginning that I didn't want a male trainer.)

Advice? I have to try and get this sorted by Monday!!!

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."


Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.


What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Richard T.'s Comment
member avatar

My first question would be did you get the no male trainer thing in writing? If not there may be an issue. The one thing I've seen on this forum more than anything else is "if it ain't in writing, it ain't happening". No doubt you could get a lawyer and make it happen that way, but that will be a story you have to tell every time you start a new job.

Best of luck!

Jopa's Comment
member avatar

Getting serious advice from a bunch of (mostly) male want-a-be, new & some experienced drivers about such a legalistic problem is not your best option - and wanting an answer by Monday is not very realistic ... Brett is probably the most knowledgeable person on this whole website and it would be my guess (see what I mean? a GUESS!) that even he would recommend you seek real advice on such an important matter ... where? I haven't the foggiest ... sorry ...



Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Jopa said:

Getting serious advice from a bunch of (mostly) male want-a-be, new & some experienced drivers about such a legalistic problem is not your best option

I think we've done pretty good here with gender oriented situations. And lawyers take a dim view of non-lawyer legal advice. Just remember you get what you pay for.

Emily, you should have had a third option: wait for a female trainer to become available ... and not get paid anything in the meantime. Remember, there are real gentleman drivers out there (as common as hen's teeth!), but it's still a girl and a guy in that tin can with a sleeper berth.

My straight out advice is to hold out for a lady trucker if you can. Here gender is a bona fide part of the situation. I doubt if your company can actually force you to train in this situation with a person of the opposite sex.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Well the obvious question to me is why can't they let you switch divisions during training and then switch back to the dedicated account you were hired for? You'll do a month of training in another division and then go solo on the dedicated account you wanted.

The only way that should be a problem is if there is some sort of special on-the-job training you'll be needing for the dedicated account.

And I'm pretty sure that they can't hire me and force me to switch positions simply because I am a female and require a female trainer

Yes, they can. I mean, you're protected by law to a certain extent but lets not get crazy here. You won't be able to go around demanding specific jobs with specific types of training within the company. They've offered to hire you and send you out with a male trainer in your division or a female trainer in another division. I think that's about as accommodating as they are required to be.

The only company I know that has a history with this issue is Prime. They used to allow female students with male trainers but then they were sued for harassment. So they changed their policy and made females train with female trainers only. Then they were sued again because they didn't have enough females to train every female student in a timely manner so now they allow the option, if you'll sign off on it, for a female to train with a male trainer and that's where it's at today.

I understand you're not comfortable with a male trainer. I get that. But at some point you're going to have to compromise somewhere. If they don't have any female trainers in the division you're hoping for then you'll have to figure out something else.

And let me just throw this out there for you because I've seen it many times. If you become too big of a pain in the *ss they're going to boot you to the curb and you can forget about that dream job. Companies try to do all they can to accommodate as many drivers as possible. But they also have a long history of bringing in new drivers and they know the ones that come in with a stubborn list of demands never work out. Often times they'll just cut people like that loose before wasting their time and money training them. Chances are that person will just have an endless list of problems to complain about and they'll either leave, get fired, or simply be unproductive anyhow.

You said they've threatened you with the contract you've signed. You're also wondering about the possibility that they are violating the Equal Opportunity Employment Act and may be guilty of sex discrimination. Those factors tell me that the type of conversations you're having with them have already gotten to a dangerous point. You're hanging on by a thread at that company whether you realize it or not. So you're going to have to tread lightly.

I would start by asking them if you can train with a female in a different division and then switch to the division you want. As long as the division you're hoping for doesn't require special training this should be no problem. The fact that they're offering you the choice of a male trainer in your division or a female trainer in another division means they're fulfilling their legal obligation to provide you with timely training and a choice of trainers you're comfortable with. But the law doesn't go so far as to say they have to give you the job of your choosing within the company.

If that scenario isn't a possibility and this particular division is that important to you then I would consider training with a male trainer. Without a doubt they have plenty of male trainers that have trained females in the past without any issues. Tell them you want a trainer that already has experience training female drivers and has a perfect record. I understand your concerns completely, but I think you're about at the end of your rope when it comes to being a female landing her dream job in a male dominated industry. It's not a matter of discrimination. It's simply a numbers game. There is a relatively small percentage of female drivers and very few female trainers. They're doing what they can to accommodate you but you can't expect a company to move mountains and meet your every demand when you haven't driven a single mile for the company nor do you have the verifiable experience to go solo without training. The company is stuck in a spot and so are you.

Ultimately the choice may come down to whether or not you're willing to compromise. Hopefully not, but it may.

But hey, isn't life always that way? The best things in life require some sacrifice. If this is your dream job then maybe it's worth training with a male trainer in a completely professional environment.

Just don't make the mistake of thinking you can make an endless series of demands, legally hold the company's feet to the fire, and force things to turn out your way in the long run. Even if you threatened a lawsuit and got a female trainer in your division there is no law that says the company has to give you any freight once you go solo. If they don't like you and they don't want you around, trust me your life is going to be miserable there. They will starve you out. So do all you can to make this work our but keep in mind that you'll be relying on this company to give you freight and get you home. It's a two way street. So be kind and professional with everyone and do your best to stay on everyone's good side while trying to get what you're hoping for.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Donald M.'s Comment
member avatar

Even verbal contracts are enforceable; but there had better be witnesses. My advice to you would be simple. Train in the other division with the stipulation that you be returned to your division of choice as a driver when finished. Get that in writing as a memoranda of understanding on the 6 month contract. It sounds like they're willing to accommodate you; in the best way they know how. If they are unwilling; then take a hard look at the situation; because all your going to wind up being is unhappy with the results.

With contracts its very easy for two parties to wind up with differences of opinion on what the legal jargon means without any documented history of conversations and notes. Even with simple at-will employment; the best you can do is take notes in any interaction with management and recruiters; and refer to those notes later on prior to signing a contract. If what's in the contract doesn't capture those notes; ask for an attachment clarifying those points.

Once that contract is signed; its VERY hard to amend. The employer has just as many rights as you do.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
R J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, As a fellow female truck driver I've been driving since 2005. When I first started I started with Werner, at the time they didn't have hardly any female trainers , and my first trainer was a male , and older male , he was great as long as you establish boundaries with him.( I didn't have any problems with him he was great and I had fun training ) Or ask him sign a contract on it and make the company supervisor and your terminal manager sign it that way it's in writing and can hold all of them accountable for it . Then you don't have any problems . That's 1 option Options 2 is like the guy said up above ask for an experience male trainer with past history of no problems and make sure it's more than 10 females he has trained . The other option is find another company to drive for because if your to demanding they will let you go ... I understand about the female trainer , and like me I trained with a male trainer till a female became available then I switch trainers ... (most female trainers are a lot more stricter then the males are ) ( and some female trainers are just as crabby as the men are ) . Best male trainers I've found are the married ones with kids . And are older and experienced . Stay away from the young ones , you'll have some issues there . And most of all. Most important thing is. " have a positive attitude". There are good and bad trainers out there. Both male and females!!! And again like the guy said up above " IF IT'S NOT IN WRITING, IT DIDNT HAPPEN" !! And always get copies of everything !!!! They also have truck driving company's out there that hire Only females , might want to do some research . Look on here there's a female driver forum . Hope this helps . It's tough out there for females sometimes .


A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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