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Ex-Exec Sues J.B. Hunt Over FiringLock Icon

2 min read

A former executive with J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell filed a lawsuit alleging he was fired in 2023 because he was white and opposed the company’s discrimination against white men.

Ryan Waters filed the discrimination suit in Washington County Circuit Court on March 15 through his attorneys Bradley Hull and Michael Graugnard of Hickey & Hull Law Partners of Fort Smith. In the suit, Waters said he was terminated from his position of vice president for people in January 2023 after he “admonished” his supervisor for discriminatory hiring practices and he and a colleague hired a third party to audit the company’s hiring protocol in 2019.

The suit said J.B. Hunt claimed Waters was let go because he violated company rules against workplace relationships. Waters’ suit said it was because he objected to the company’s practice of hiring women rather than more qualified men for positions.

Waters, in the lawsuit, said he had worked for J.B. Hunt since 2001 and had not received any negative performance reviews until shortly before his dismissal. As vice president for people, Waters said, his annual salary was $176,000 and he had earned approximately $400,000 in total compensation, according to the lawsuit.

Waters’ lawsuit said some of his objections were based on comments made by his female supervisor — whom the suit did not name — and her desire to hire women. In the filing, Waters alleged that the female supervisor, whom he said was a president, said she wanted to change the company’s personnel from “redneck, skoal dipping, white boys.”

J.B. Hunt, through a spokesman, declined to comment on Waters’ lawsuit, saying it was company policy to not discuss pending litigation. It did email a statement regarding its workforce culture.

“J.B. Hunt strives to create an inclusive culture where all people feel welcomed, valued, respected, safe and heard,” the statement read.

Waters said in the lawsuit that his termination violated his civil rights and he had filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in June 2023. The EEOC, according to the suit, told Waters and J.B. Hunt it would not investigate the matter in December 2023.

Waters is asking for back pay, compensation for pain and suffering and punitive damages.

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