During a current climate where people are embracing a “new normal” in response to a global pandemic more consumers than ever are sidestepping hands-on shopping for delivery services. With significant growth in business, the last thing any shipping company needs during these unprecedented times is discrimination charges that damage their image, let alone their bottom line.
Package handlers play a vital role for all companies in the business of shipping products, both nationally and internationally. They perform the essential tasks of loading, unloading, scanning, and routing packages to countless distribution facilities worldwide.
Discriminatory Practices Lead to Legal Action
Following reports that applicants with hearing problems were allegedly denied opportunities to work for Federal Express, the high-profile shipper found themselves under the scrutiny of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In response to formal complaints – numbering up to 229 – filed by deaf or hard-of-hearing applicants for package handler positions, the agency conducted a nationwide investigation that identified not only acts of discrimination, but also an unwillingness to implement specific accommodations.
The EEOC’s findings resulted in a lawsuit against the international delivery service that alleges violations of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Following successful settlement negotiations, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ordered FedEx to pay $3.3 million. The case surrounds claims that package handler applicants nationwide were turned away due to being deaf or hard-of-hearing.
In addition to financial damages to the applicants, FedEx Ground must provide accommodations to account for hearing disabilities. From captioned videos to equipment warning devices, the company will now take steps to protect the well-being of its deaf and hard-of-hearing employees and provide appropriate ADA compliance training for managers and human resources staff.