UPS (NYSE: UPS) is having a rough week. Nineteen black UPS workers from the company’s distribution center in Maumee, Ohio have come forward and are suing the company. The workers claim they have suffered repeated racial discrimination at work and that, despite several reports, UPS did nothing to stop it. Yikes. In an era when diversity and inclusion needs to be celebrated, we’ve got some pretty strong feelings about this matter.
The Workers’ Allegations
Where do we start? The lawsuit—filed on Wednesday at Lucas County Court in Ohio—details numerous incidents that occurred at the UPS distribution center during the workers’ time there.
According to the lawsuit, white co-workers consistently made jokes about hanging the black employees with nooses, dressed a monkey doll up in UPS gear and placed the doll near them, and repeatedly used the “N word” while in their presence.
In the suit, lawyers argue that no disciplinary matters were taken after these incidents were reported to management. In addition, they also argue that black UPS workers aren’t fairly compensated because of their race.
“African-American [UPS] employees are…systematically denied opportunities for higher paying, full-time, and supervisory positions,” lawyers argue in the suit. “The paper promises of UPS to be an equal opportunity employer with zero tolerance of racist comments or conduct are, in practice, merely empty promises.”
The Potential Outcome
When asked about the issue, UPS Director of Corporate Media Relations Glenn Zacara claimed UPS fired the accused workers.
“UPS promptly investigated and took swift disciplinary action against those found to have engaged in inappropriate actions, including the discharge of two employees,” Zacara said.
As for the lawsuit itself, we’ll have to wait and see how it unfolds. Lawyers representing the UPS workers are asking judges to award each worker at least $25,000 in damages, as well as the cost of their legal fees.
USPS Had the Exact Opposite Week
Meanwhile, USPS is enjoying a much different week than their brown-truck competitor. On Tuesday, the Postal Service received an honor placing them as the top federal agency for multicultural opportunities. This marks the 9th consecutive year that the Postal Service has received this distinction. Talk about the other side of the coin.
We believe that racial discrimination and inequality in the workplace is not something that should ever fly. So, let’s hope that UPS follows in the Postal Service’s footsteps and gets their act together soon.