Published Date: 10/20/2014
By John Gupton
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleged in a recent lawsuit it filed against FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. (FedEx Ground) that the company violated federal law nationwide by discriminating against a large class of deaf and hard-of-hearing package handlers and job applicants for years.
The EEOC says that FedEx Ground failed to provide needed accommodations such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and closed-captioned training videos during the mandatory initial tour of the facilities and new hire orientation for deaf and hard-of-hearing applicants. The EEOC also alleged that FedEx Ground failed to provide such accommodations during staff, performance and safety meetings.
The EEOC charges that, in addition to failing to provide communications-based accommodations for mandatory meetings, FedEx Ground refused to provide needed equipment substitutions and modifications for deaf and hard-of-hearing package handlers, such as providing scanners that vibrate instead of beep and installing flashing safety lights on moving equipment.
Such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of disability. The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with a disability unless the employer can show that doing so would be an undue hardship.
The EEOC’s lawsuit arose as a result of 19 charges filed throughout the country citing discrimination against deaf and hard-of-hearing people by FedEx Ground. The agency consolidated these charges and conducted a nationwide systemic investigation of these violations.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at its website at www.eeoc.gov.