Overview: In Robar v. Int’l Longshoremen’s Association, Local 1413-1465, Fortes, the MCAD found in favor of the Complainant and awarded emotional distress damages for her claims of gender-based discrimination and retaliation. The Complainant, a woman with experience and certification in forklift operation, alleged that the Respondents refused to hire her as a forklift operator due to her gender and non-member status with the union.
The hearing officer found direct evidence of gender discrimination underscoring the fact that the union never hired women to operate the forklifts. The Respondents failed to refute this evidence, providing ostensibly false reasons for their actions. There was also evidence that the Respondents denied union membership to the Complainant because she had not worked enough hours but admitted several men who did not meet that requirement. The Complainant failed to put forth a prima facie case for retaliation, however, because the events in question lacked temporal proximity and the alleged harm was hypothetical. In addition to emotional distress damages, the hearing officer imposed a civil penalty against the Respondent union.