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Press Release 04-25-2024

DHL to Pay $8.7 Million in EEOC Race Discrimination Lawsuit

Federal Agency Charged That Delivery Company Assigned Black Drivers to More Dangerous and Arduous Work

CHICAGO – Delivery company DHL will pay $8.7 million and be subject to the oversight of a court-appointed monitor to settle a class race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

The EEOC charged in its suit that DHL assigned its Black employees to routes in neighborhoods with higher crime rates compared to those assigned to its white drivers, gave Black employees much heavier dock work, and segregated its Black and white employees. Black employees often witnessed crime and sometimes were victims of crime on their assigned routes. Additionally, Black employees reported being assigned to move large, heavy packages while their white counterparts were assigned the far less strenuous task of sorting letters.

Discriminating based on race in the terms and conditions of employment and engaging in racial segregation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Civil Action No.10-cv-6139), after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the consent decree resolving the lawsuit, DHL will pay $8.7 million in compensation to a group of 83 Black employees subjected to the alleged discriminatory conduct who chose to participate in the lawsuit. Twenty of these employees were represented by private counsel.

With the agreement of the parties, former EEOC Commissioner Leslie Silverman was appointed by the court to monitor DHL’s compliance with the consent decree. The decree requires that DHL train its workforce on federal laws prohibiting race discrimination and provide periodic reports to Silverman and the EEOC on work assignments and complaints of race discrimination. Silverman will review and oversee the efficacy of DHL’s complaint procedures, the quality of investigations DHL undertakes in response to complaints, and the status of all required training under the decree. She will also monitor whether work assignments are based on race. Silverman’s monitoring will last for a term of four years.

“In this case, the EEOC made no claim that Black workers were paid less than others or denied promotions,” said Gregory Gochanour, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Chicago District Office. “However, segregating employees and giving them unequal work assignments based on their race is just as unlawful. Such practices should not occur in any workplace. We are confident that the measures put in place by the consent decree will ensure that DHL’s employees are treated equally going forward.”

Karla Gilbride, general counsel of the EEOC, said, “If an employer honors the requests of white workers to avoid certain parts of a city that are perceived as dangerous, but orders Black workers to continue working in those areas despite their concerns, the employer is telling Black workers that their lives and their safety concerns are valued less than the lives and concerns of their white coworkers. That is plainly unlawful, and EEOC will oppose such conduct.”

“It was once commonplace in America for employers to segregate their employees by race,” added EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “Sixty years ago this July, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed racially segregated workplaces, although some employers still fail to get the message. As our new Strategic Enforcement Plan makes clear, the EEOC remains committed to vigorously enforcing the Civil Rights Act so that race-based job segregation becomes a thing of the past.”

For more information on race discrimination, please visit

The EEOC’s Chicago District Office is charged with enforcing federal employment discrimination laws in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. 

The EEOC prevents and remedies unlawful employment discrimination and advances equal opportunity for all. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.