Bible Minded Trucker Sues Employer

By JIM PATTERSON .c The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A trucker who believes the Bible won't allow him to make overnight runs with female colleagues because it could ``lead to lustful thoughts'' has sued his company.

David Virts filed a federal lawsuit Monday against his employer, Consolidated Freightways Corp. of Delaware.

Because the bunk area of a truck cab is cramped, drivers paired on overnight trips usually disrobe in the cab before making their way to the rear, according to the lawsuit.

Such a practice is evil, the lawsuit said, because ``it can lead to lustful thoughts and sexual temptation, all of which the Bible says Christians should avoid.''

Driving assignments are handed out by seniority as required by the Teamsters union contract, said Mike Brown, a spokesman for Consolidated, based in Menlo Park, Calif.

``It is not a simple matter of pairing drivers who would choose to be together,'' Brown said. ``All companies are bound by the Teamsters collective bargaining agreement to assign drivers in seniority order, and drivers must accept the assignments.''

Virts says he was paired with a female driver for an overnight run in 1995 but was able to switch to a male partner. When he returned, he said he was told that the company could have fired him for refusing to go with the female driver.

On May 30, 1997, Virts says he was again paired with a female driver but could find no one to switch with, so he refused to go.

A few days later, after a meeting with company and Teamsters officials, Virts was told he had ``voluntarily quit'' when he refused the May 30 trip. He was rehired three weeks later with the provision that he not file a union grievance over his firing.

Virts says the company has caused him emotional distress and harm to his reputation. He wants $150,000 in damages and the right not to make overnight trips with women.

AP-NY-05-22-98 1927EDT


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