Equal opportunity advocates welcomed the recent news that FedEx reached a $3 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to address a pattern of hiring discrimination in its ground delivery business.
The settlement was negotiated by DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and covers 21,635 rejected applicants for employment at FedEx Ground and SmartPost locations in 15 states. The applicants – representing one of the largest classes of claimants in OFCCP history – will receive payment for lost potential wages and a smaller number will be extended job offers as positions become available.
In addition to financial payments and offers of employment, FedEx Ground will be instituting a series of reforms to eliminate unfair hiring practices, which include training, self-monitoring, and the hiring of an outside consultant to fully review the company’s hiring procedures and help monitor compliance with federal laws.
OFCCP enforces equal employment opportunity laws to ensure that federal contractors do not discriminate in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. As a federal contractor, FedEx Ground is subject to OFCCP compliance reviews. The current settlement was the result of reviews occurring over a seven-year period that found evidence of discrimination against male and female job seekers, as well as against African Americans, Caucasians, Native Americans, and people of Hispanic and Asian descent. Patricia A. Shiu, director of OFCCP, told The New York Times that of the rejected applicants covered by the settlement, 61 percent were female, 52 percent African American, 14 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Asian, and 1 percent Native American.
In announcing the settlement, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said, “We are committed to building an economy that lasts – one in which every qualified worker gets a fair shot to compete for jobs, and every employer plays by the same set of rules.”
“This settlement is proof that we will aggressively protect workers, promote workplace diversity and enforce the laws governing federal contractors,” she added.