Photo: DHL Sued to Intimidating Hispanic Workers
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today that it has filed suit against DHL Global Forwarding for subjecting a class of Hispanic employees to national origin discrimination. The EEOC’s suit also alleges that DHL Global unlawfully retaliated against a non-Hispanic employee by firing him for reporting the treatment of Hispanic employees.
The suit alleges that Hispanic employees at DHL’s Dallas warehouse were constantly subjected to taunts and derogatory names such as “wetback”, “beaner,” “stupid Mexican” and “Puerto Rican b—-h”. According to the EEOC, Hispanic workers, who included persons of Mexican, Salvadoran and Puerto Rican heritage, were often ridiculed by DHL personnel with demeaning slurs which included referring to the Salvadoran worker as a “salvatrucha,” a term referring to a gangster.
Other workers were identified with derogatory stereotypes by being told they should be outside the facility “mowing the grass” or that their “homies” were on a television show about prison. The EEOC further asserts that harsh admonitions to bilingual employees about use of their Spanish language were motivated by prejudice, unnecessary and unrelated to the effective performance of the job duties.
DHL Global officials ignored the complaints of employees even after the discriminatory conduct was reported to management. The suit also alleges that DHL retaliated against Troy Petty, a union steward, by terminating his employment after he reported the mistreatment of Hispanic employees to DHL officials on several occasions.
The EEOC seeks injunctive relief, including the formulation of policies to prevent and correct national origin discrimination and retaliation. The suit also seeks lost wages for Petty and compensatory damages and punitive damages for all the victims of DHL Global’s unlawful practices, including both actions and inactions that resulted in harm.