MA: ARAB-AMERICAN DRIVERS ACCUSE FEDEX BOSSES OF DISCRIMINATION
Four Arab-American drivers who said they were harassed by their supervisors at a FedEx Corp. facility in Wilmington have filed a lawsuit alleging they were subjected to a steady flow of vitriol and discrimination.
In a lawsuit the plaintiffs’ lawyer said was served on FedEx yesterday, the drivers said managers called them terrorists, asked them if they were sending money to Osama bin Laden, made a call to the FBI that prompted one of them to be questioned, and restricted their delivery routes.
“FedEx has abdicated its responsibility of employers to make sure that their drivers are not discriminated against,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, a Boston lawyer representing the men. “This is a particularly egregious example of an employer abdicating its responsibility. . . . They [the Arab-American employees] all came to this country because they wanted a better life for their families, and this is what they got.”
FedEx spokesman Maury Lane has declined to comment on the specific allegations in the lawsuit.
“The company has a zero tolerance policy on this kind of behavior,” Lane said in a recent interview. “If this behavior is reported or seen, we will immediately investigate and terminate any employee at any level guilty of these actions. These contractors are our lifeline to our customers. We wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize those working relationships.”
In a complaint filed in July 2006 with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Loay el-Dagany, from Kuwait, said his supervisor, David Goyette, repeatedly called him a terrorist and threw packages at him.
Goyette also asked Dagany if he was planning to send money to bin Laden or Al Qaeda, Dagany said. After Dagany complained about route changes, Goyette told him not to lose it and “blow up my car,” according to the complaint.
In a phone interview, Dagany, 32, said the treatment made him so sick he developed a rash.
“We were treated as less than human beings,” said Dagany, who has worked for FedEx since 2003. “I really just want people to know that in a big company like this, where a lot of foreigners work, people shouldn’t be treated that way.”