UPS Accused of Discrimination and Assault by Arab Worker in EEOC Lawsuit

08/02/2013 // Keller Grover LLP // Eric Grover // (press release)

A lawsuit filed by an employee of UPS, the international shipping company, alleges that UPS allowed supervisors to spew discriminatory statements and harass him for being an Arab and Muslim. The employment lawsuit, filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), charges the shipping company with violations of federal discrimination laws and retaliation against the employee after he reported the harassment, reports San Francisco employment lawyer Eric Grover.

The plaintiff, Talal Alfaour, a Jordanian Muslim, began working for UPS in their San Bruno Hub in San Francisco as a package handler. Starting in 2004, the suit alleges that he began to face verbal and physical abuse by his supervisors.

Alfaour was called “Dr. Bomb,” “Al Qaeda,” and “Taliban,” and was told by a supervisor that he could never work with hazardous materials because “you are a terrorist and you are going to blow up the building,” according to court documents.

In addition, Alfaour was assaulted with rocks, bottles and tools, and a dead rodent was left in his lunch bag.

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is prohibited to harass an individual because of their national origin and religion. It also provides protection from retaliation for workers that notify management about discrimination.

UPS allegedly failed to take action even after Alfaour repeatedly reported the harassment to management. As a means of “correcting” the problem, UPS decided to involuntarily transfer Alfaour to a new position where he claimed to have endured micromanaging by his superiors.

The EEOC filed the employment lawsuit after they were unsuccessful at reaching a voluntary settlement through negotiation with UPS. The suit is seeking monetary damages on the behalf of Alfaour, training on anti-discrimination laws, posting of notices at the work site and other measures to prevent future discrimination.

According to the EEOC San Francisco District Director, Michael Baldonado, “in fiscal year 2011, retaliation charges (37,334) represented 37.4% of all charges filed with the EEOC – the highest percentage of any claim for that year, and the highest number of retaliation charges ever received by the EEOC in any fiscal year.”

“If the allegations are true, it is unfortunate that a ‘global leader in logistics’ is tolerating workers being subjected to harassment, discrimination and physical assault by supervisors because of their religion and nationality,” says San Francisco employment lawyer Eric Grover of Keller Grover LLP. “As an international company and a leader in the shipping industry, UPS should be taking advantage of their leadership position by setting the example for other companies, especially as they employ thousands of people all over the world of various ethnicities.”

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