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FedEx Sued for Failure to Accommodate Deaf Employees

Posted on in Employment

FedEx has been in a lot of legal trouble with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently. Now, the federal agency has filed an employment lawsuit, charging that the company had discriminated against disabled, specifically deaf and partially deaf employees.

The lawsuit says that FedEx employed deaf and partially deaf workers as package handler at its facilities, but did not make accommodations for their disabilities. Physically, the company failed to provide American Sign Language interpretation facilities for deaf or partially deaf workers, and failed to provide closed-captioning training videos. New hires were not taken through the process of understanding how employees with these abilities could be accommodated. Employees, who asked for scanners that would have vibrated instead of sounding an audible alert were disappointed, because the company refused to provide such equipment to employees.

At least 19 charges have been filed against the company across the country, and that has resulted in a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A subsidiary of the company FedEx Ground is also facing another class-action lawsuit filed by truckers who claim that the company wrongly classified them as independent contractors. Wrongful classification of workers as independent contractors or temp workers is a practice that is widespread in the trucking industry. This allows employers to save on payroll costs in overtime, workers compensation and a number of other expenses.

Many employees willfully and wrongly categorize workers as independent contractors, because these contractors do not have access to many employment protections. Savings to employers from the payroll expenses saved as a result of such misclassification can run into the millions of dollars. According to some estimates, FedEx is saving millions of dollars every year because of such misclassification of its truckers.

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