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Logistics firm settles multiyear EEOC discrimination probe

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Logistics firm Schenker Inc. has agreed to pay $750,000 to conciliate several discrimination charges filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Freeport, New York-based Schenker, which is a unit of Berlin, Germany-based DB Schenker, had been the subject of a multiyear investigation by the EEOC which began when a group of warehouse employees in Joliet, Illinois, charged the company with race and national origin harassment, the EEOC said Wednesday in a statement. A subset of those workers also charged sexual harassment. 

The agency issued a finding that the evidence showed reasonable cause to believe the company had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EEOC said that while the company denied the allegations, it agreed to pay $750,000 to individuals identified by the EEOC as having been subjected to the unlawful discrimination to resolve the charges.

The agency said Schenker has also partnered with the EEOC to implement a variety of measures aimed at preventing discrimination in the workplace, including updating its criminal background check policy to comply with EEOC guidance. Schenker also has agreed to update its harassment and discrimination policies, among other measures, the EEOC said.

“Harassment, retaliation, and the use of overly broad criminal background policies are all priorities under the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan,” said Julianne Bowman, director of EEOC's Chicago district office, in a statement. “This resolution addresses those priorities, improving Schenker’s hiring procedures and the working lives of current Schenker employees as a result.”

The company said in a statement it denies it has violated the law, “but believes that settling the case at this time is in the best interests of all parties. This settlement allows the company to avoid the distraction and uncertainty of protracted litigation over the years.”

It said also, “Taking social responsibility is an important element of the corporate culture at DB Schenker. DB Schenker is committed to maintaining a work environment free of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.”