The EEOC recently announced that it is suing FedEx Ground Package System for allegedly violating the Americans With Disabilities Act in their dealings with deaf and hearing-impaired workers nationwide. The suit claims that FedEx Ground failed to provide American Sign Language interpretation and closed-caption training videos during a mandatory initial tour of facilities and new-hire orientation.
The suit also claims that FedEx ground did not provide specific equipment modifications for the hearing impaired such as scanners that vibrate instead of beep and flashing safety lights on moving equipment.
The lawsuit apparently rose out of 19 charges filed across the country that the EEOC consolidated and investigated. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. FedEx has stated that it is confident that it has complied with the law and it plans to vigorously contest the lawsuit.
This lawsuit is further evidence that the EEOC is continuing a pattern of nationwide systemic lawsuits. It is also consistent with the national priorities listed in the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan. Employers should be aware that the EEOC is focusing on recruitment and hiring practices that allegedly discriminate against people with disabilities—including hearing-impaired individuals.