A proposed class action lawsuit alleges that an “old boys’ club” culture exists at UPS wherein female employees, especially those over the age of 40, routinely face systemic age and gender discrimination.
The 37-page lawsuit, filed against United Parcel Service, Inc. and Ricardo Moreno, a coordinator at UPS’ Oakland, California hub, alleges that female employees are subject to a pervasive double standard and often report to work “unsure of their position and whether they will get bumped” from their roles regardless of seniority. According to the suit, female UPS workers, in particular those perceived as “outwardly feminine,” are “forced to prove their commitment to UPS in a way no one else is” and are subject to a standard operating procedure whereby they’re held back from supervisory roles and opportunities to earn overtime, regardless of performance.
“UPS fails to pay these women on par with their seniority and, by holding them back, creates a lasting stain on their careers,” the filing states, adding that the opportunities that are afforded to women at UPS “usually lead to a dead end.”
With regard to Moreno, the lawsuit alleges he’s “the chief harasser” and the “retaliator in charge of small sort,” recruiting other UPS supervisors to sabotage and single out women who “he feels are to [sic] feminine to do additional work.” The case also alleges Moreno assigns supervisors to work in violation of UPS policy in an attempt to take away time on the clock from female employees as part of a broader “pattern of harassment and discrimination against women.”
The suit claims female UPS workers who dare to speak out about unequal treatment “risk isolation,” i.e., movement to areas with work flows too heavy for one person, and face the possibility of being pushed out of their positions should they fail to meet the new and impossibly high standards.
“UPS’ policies and practices are emblematic of the ‘old boys’ club’ that permeates corporate culture, suppresses female advancement, and stereotypes women,” the lawsuit alleges. “When female employees complain about workplace culture, they are punished in the ways described above.”
According to the lawsuit, women at UPS are routinely prevented from advancing up the corporate ladder within the company but at the same time are required to “work harder to prove their dedication” amid “unreasonably high expectations.” Employees who are able to take advantage of UPS’ paid time off or flexible work schedule, which allows employees to work part-time to care for family, purportedly without fear of repercussions, are particularly vulnerable, the lawsuit alleges.
Moreover, the case claims women are often not even given the chance to meet UPS’ workload expectations once they return from leave and can regularly “find themselves without sufficient work to meet employee expectation.”
The lawsuit alleges UPS has “long been aware of these problems” yet failed to take remedial measures to prevent or correct them.
The filing alleges younger employees at UPS are allowed to work double shifts while workers such as the plaintiffs have “struggled for years to get the same hours.” Further, the suit says, older female employees are forced to wait in a certain area, while younger workers are allowed to go right to the work area of their choosing.
With respect to Moreno, the plaintiffs allege that it is common knowledge that he “prefers men” and picks all men who previously worked at the San Bruno hub to work in his area, even though such areas are supposed to be available for those with high seniority.
Overall, the lawsuit claims there exists at UPS a broader culture in which the stereotype that “older women are worse at and less committed to their jobs” is reinforced by an allegedly male-dominated hierarchy.
The three plaintiffs look to represent all female UPS employees who have been employed by the company in the United States from November 9, 2017 to the date of judgment in the case. The suit also looks to cover all female UPS employees in the United States who were over 40 years old and/or disabled between November 9, 2017 and the date of judgment.
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