The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



FedEx Refuses to Cooperate in Federal Investigation

PHOENIX -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it has filed a subpoena enforcement action in its race discrimination investigation of FedEx Corporation to force the company to furnish key information on personnel procedures.

The EEOC is investigating a race discrimination charge by Tyronne Merritt against Fed Ex which accuses the company of engaging in a pattern and practice of discriminating against African Americans and Latinos in promotion. According to Merritt’s charge, FedEx requires passage of a Basic Skills Test (BST), a cognitive ability test, for promotion from the entry-level position of handler to positions of customer service agent, ramp transporter driver, or courier. Merritt further alleged that the BST has an adverse impact on African Americans and Latinos, disproportionately impacting those groups, thus constituting race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

During its investigation of Merritt’s allegations, the EEOC issued an administrative subpoena for basic information about the types of computerized or machine-readable files FedEx maintains regarding personnel decisions. FedEx refused to comply with the subpoena. In the subpoena enforcement action, the EEOC asks U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to order FedEx Corporation to show cause why it should not comply with the administrative subpoena issued to the company.

Mary Jo O’Neill, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, said, “Mr. Merritt’s charge raises very serious allegations that a major employer of international scope discriminates against its employees because of their race and national origin. Title VII prohibits an employer from using a test that has an adverse impact on any protected group unless there is no other means by which the employer can test employees. It is unusual for an employer to try to stonewall the EEOC at such an early stage in our investigation. We are hopeful that the court will order this employer to comply with the EEOC subpoena.”

Chester V. Bailey, district director for the EEOC’s Phoenix District Office, added, “No employer has the right to systematically deny promotional opportunities to entire demographic groups through a dubious testing process or any other means. This office will continue to vigorously investigate allegations of pattern and practice discrimination.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the nation’s laws prohibiting discrimination in employment based on race, color, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), religion, national origin, age, disability, and retaliation. Further information about the Commission is available on its web site at

This page was last modified on June 7, 2006.

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