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FedEx settles disability discrimination lawsuit

FedEx's most affordable shipping service has agreed to pay a stiff price to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit. FedEx Ground has agreed to pay $3.3 million and make company-wide changes as part of the settlement.

The shipping giant was accused of denying reasonable accommodations to deaf and hard-of-hearing package handlers. FedEx Ground also discriminated against deaf and hard-of-hearing applicants for package handler jobs, the lawsuit stated.

Package handlers load and unload packages at distribution centers, scanning and then routing the packages to their destinations.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to enable employees with disabilities to do their jobs and to allow people with disabilities to apply for jobs.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) makes it plain that job applicants with disabilities have the right to be considered for positions: "An employer cannot refuse to consider you because you require a reasonable accommodation to compete for or perform a job."

After receiving numerous complaints of ADA discrimination from deaf and hard-of-hearing package handlers at FedEx Ground, the EEOC investigated the company and determined that the charges had merit.

The federal agency says the settlement between package handlers and the shipping company includes payments to 229 past or current employees (about $14,400 per eligible individual).

FedEx Ground also agreed to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing handlers with live and video sign language interpreting, captioned videos and scanners equipped with cues such as vibrations. The company also agreed to equip forklifts and other mechanized equipment with warning lights.

In addition, deaf package handlers will be outfitted with notification devices to alert them to emergencies.

Contact the Milwaukee employment law attorneys of Alan C. Olson and Associates if a Wisconsin employer has discriminated against you on the basis a disability.

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