Delivery Giant Unlawfully Assigned Drivers to Assignments and Neighborhoods Based on Race, Federal Agency Charged
CHICAGO - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today filed a race discrimination lawsuit against DHL Express, Inc. on behalf of a class of African-American employees who were given different job assignments because of their race. The EEOC received more than 20 charges of discrimination against DHL alleging that the shipping and delivery giant discriminated against black workers.
The EEOC's administrative investigation was conducted under the supervision of Chicago District Director John Rowe, who said that the EEOC's investigation found that DHL assigned black drivers to predominately black neighborhoods and white drivers to predominately white neighborhoods. “While this may not have been obvious to employees at first, over time, a pattern of segregation emerged,” said Rowe.
The EEOC's administrative investigation also found that DHL assigned more difficult and dangerous work to black employees than white employees. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney in Chicago, added, “Any employer who gives different work assignments to employees simply because of the color of their skin, sends a message to all of its employees that it is by no means colorblind. The concept of 'separate but equal' has long since been rejected. It has absolutely no place on the job. Everyone should understand that federal law -- Title VII -- expressly forbids the segregation of employees. In this case, as with all of our other cases, the EEOC is looking to ensure that all employees can work in an environment free of discrimination."
The case, captioned EEOC v. DHL Express (USA), Inc., was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on September 24, 2010 and has been designated Civil Action No. 10 C 6139. The government's litigation effort will be led by EEOC Trial Attorney Aaron DeCamp and Supervisory Trial Attorney Diane Smason.
DHL is part of Bonn, Germany-based Deutsche Post DHL, which, according to company information, generated revenue of more than $62 billion (currently about 46 billion Euros) in 2009, and calls itself "the global market leader in the logistics industry."
The EEOC's Chicago District Office is responsible for processing charges of discrimination, administrative enforcement, and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with area offices in Milwaukee and Minneapolis.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency's web site at www.eeoc.gov.