A group of three women who work at the United Parcel Service’s Oakland hub have filed a federal lawsuit against the company. They claim that women employees are routinely relegated to dead-end jobs with lower pay and fewer opportunities for advancement. They are seeking $250 million in compensation and punitive damages for the class.
The plaintiffs also say that women age 40 and over are facing age discrimination. They claim that UPS systematically gives them fewer hours and job duties and supervises them more intensely than it does younger male workers.
Topping this off, according to the women, UPS has no effective procedure for workers to file complaints or otherwise enforce the company’s anti-discrimination policies. Senior management is male-dominated and ignores the obvious disparities between men and women at the company.
The three plaintiffs are all in their 40s and 50s. In their own careers, they say, they have been denied the opportunity to get higher-paying positions, denied the benefits of seniority that their male peers enjoy, and harassed and retaliated against when they took medical leave.
They hope to represent a nationwide class of women who have been employed by UPS at any time since November 2017, along with a subclass of those women who are over 40 or who have a disability. The lawsuit accuses UPS of violating Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on gender. It also claims violations of the federal Equal Pay Act and of California law.
UPS, which is based in Atlanta, did not respond to Reuters’s request for a comment.
If this is true, is it discrimination?
It certainly could be. One way to show discrimination is to demonstrate that certain policies or practices have a “disparate impact” on members of a group protected by anti-discrimination laws, such as women, people 40 and over, and people with disabilities. The more startling the disparate impact, the more likely that discrimination has occurred.
Additionally, all companies that are covered by California or federal anti-discrimination laws are required to provide a reasonably effective method for handling discrimination and harassment complaints.
If you believe you are facing discrimination or harassment at work, be sure to discuss your situation with an employment law attorney before taking any concrete action.
Leigh Law Group represents employees in discrimination and harassment cases throughout California.