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FedEx, Labor Department reach $3M agreement over bias claims


WASHINGTON—The Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs said Wednesday it has reached a $3 million conciliation agreement with two FedEx Corp. units over hiring discrimination charges.

However, one of the FedEx units involved—Coraopolis, Pa.-based FedEx Ground Package Systems Inc.—said in a statement that, despite its agreement to the settlement, “the DOL's position was not supported by the law.”

The DOL said in a statement that OFCCP compliance officers found evidence of discrimination at 23 facilities in 15 states during a series of regularly scheduled reviews that spanned seven years.

The affected workers included men and women and African-American, Caucasian and Native American job seekers as well as those of Hispanic and Asian descent, according to the DOL.

The reviews also uncovered extensive violations of the record-keeping requirements of Executive Order 11246, which prohibits discrimination, according to the DOL.

In addition to FedEx Ground, the other unit of Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx involved is New Berlin, Wis.-based FedEx SmartPost Inc. The DOL said it found hiring-process and selection-procedure violations in 22 FedEx Ground facilities and one FedEx SmartPost facility.

The DOL said under terms of the agreement, the companies will pay $3 million in back wages and interest to 21,635 applicants who were rejected for entry-level package handler and parcel assistant positions.

FedEx also agreed to extend job offers to 1,703 of the affected workers as positions became available. The 21,635 rejected job seekers represent one of the largest classes of victims of any case in OFCCP's history, according to the DOL.

OFCCP Patricia A. Shiu said in a statement, “Being a federal contractor is a privilege and means you absolutely, positively cannot discriminate, not when you are profiting from taxpayer dollars.

“Under this agreement, FedEx will have to really examine and revamp its hiring practices across the entire company. The American people ought to have confidence that one of our nation’s most trusted brands will not tolerate discrimination.”

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in a statement, “This settlement is proof that we will aggressively protect workers, promote workplace diversity and enforce the laws governing federal contractors.”

In its statement, FedEx Ground said it did not admit to any wrongdoing. “The allegations were based on computer statistical analysis rather than individual complaints or investigations.

“We agreed to pay $3 million to avoid what would have certainly been a prolonged and much more expensive resolution process. We have and will continue to review and enhance our hiring practices to promote FedEx Ground’s commitment to diversity and equal employment opportunity.”

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