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UPS Women Sue for $250 Million, Alleging Systemic Job Bias (1)

Nov. 10, 2021, 4:29 PMUpdated: Nov. 10, 2021, 6:06 PM

United Parcel Service Inc. forces women to work under a double standard and holds them back with an “old boy’s club” culture in which they are paid less for equal work, denied the benefits of earned seniority, and run into a “dead end” when they try to advance, a proposed class lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco charges.

Women who are regarded as too feminine and those “who avail themselves of the company’s paid time off or flexible work schedule policy” to work part-time to care for family “are particularly vulnerable,” the suit says.

The suit seeks at least $250 million for female employees across the U.S. who have been or will be subjected to the systemic bias based on gender, age, and/or disability at any time after Nov. 9, 2017.

Three women who work in the small sort area at UPS’s Oakland hub—Galena Goins, Sonia Lopez, and Terry A. Jones-Jackson—filed the suit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. They also named their supervisor, Ricardo Moreno, as a defendant.

Moreno is “the chief harasser, and retaliator in charge of small sort,” the suit says. He “recruits other supervisors to sabotage” female workers, “singles out” women he believes are too feminine “to do additional work,” favors employees he previously worked with at UPS’s San Bruno, Calif., hub, and assigns supervisors to work in violation of company policy to take away time that female employees otherwise would work, according to the suit.

UPS forces female employees to work in the back while the male employees work in the front, the suit says.

That violates the company’s seniority rules and results in women routinely being denied opportunities for higher pay and promotion, the suit says.

The company also fails to pay women “on par with their seniority” and operates under a corporate culture that stereotypes and suppresses the advancement of women, the suit says.

The bias permeates UPS’s human resources processes and decision-making, according to the suit.

“UPS has long been aware of these problems but has failed to take remedial measures to prevent or correct them,” the suit says.

The suit seeks certification of a nationwide classes under federal anti-bias and equal pay laws as well as sub-classes under various California state laws.

Causes of Action: Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act; the Equal Pay Act; the California Equal Pay Act; California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act; and California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Relief: Declaratory judgment that cited employment practices are unlawful; permanent injunction barring such practices; order requiring UPS to implement programs to remedy gender, age, and disability bias against female workers; order requiring UPS to implement systems for compensating female employees equally; back pay, front pay, lost benefits, preferential rights to jobs, and other similar damages; liquidated damages; punitive damages; attorneys’ fees and costs; pre- and post-judgment interest.

Response: UPS issued a statement saying the company doesn’t “tolerate discrimination or harassment” and that it responds “promptly when issues are brought to our attention.” The statement from a spokesman also said, “We will investigate these allegations and respond accordingly.”

Attorneys: Iscandari Law Group and Varlack Legal Services represent Goins, Lopez, Jones-Jackson, and the proposed classes.

The case is Goins v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 3:21-cv-08722, class complaint filed 11/9/21.

(Updated with response from UPS in the 14th paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Dorrian in Washington at pdorrian@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Peggy Aulino at maulino@bloomberglaw.com