DHL To Pay $8.7M Over Alleged Segregation, Giving Black Workers Harder Jobs

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DHL Express has agreed to pay $8.7 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the company segregated employees, assigning its harder tasks to its Black workers, per Reuters.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced last week that it had settled its racial discrimination lawsuit with DHL, which was filed in 2010.

According to the EEOC, when white drivers didn't want to take on routes in neighborhoods with higher crime rates, the assignments were handed off to Black employees who often witnessed crimes and sometimes became victims.

The lawsuit also alleged that Black workers were tasked with moving large, heavy packages while their white peers sorted letters.

In a statement, the EEOC said segregating workers and giving them unequal assignments based on race is illegal, similar to denying them promotions or paying them less.

"The employer is telling Black workers that their lives and their safety concerns are valued less than the lives and concerns of their white coworkers," Karla Gilbride, the commission's general counsel, said in a statement.

DHL spokesman Robert Mintz said the company takes discrimination allegations seriously but denies any wrongdoing in the EEOC lawsuit.

"At DHL, we are committed to creating an inclusive and respectful workplace where every employee is treated with dignity and fairness," Mintz said in a statement. "We are also committed to ongoing learning and education that fosters a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging throughout our organization."

The $8.7 million settlement, approved by a federal judge in Chicago, will go to 83 Black workers who participated in the lawsuit. DHL has also been ordered to review and overhaul its policies for assigning work and handling internal complaints. Former EEOC commissioner, Leslie Silverman, is set to monitor the company's compliance with the terms of the settlement for four years.

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