After employees at XPO Logistics’ warehouses, including one here in Memphis, reported claims of discriminatory and unsafe working conditions, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen joined 96 other House members Tuesday in requesting a House Committee to hold a hearing on the allegations.
In a letter, dated December 4th, the members urged the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to investigate the many allegations of “disturbing treatment” of employees at XPO’s warehouses around the country.
This comes after XPO’s Verizon warehouse in Memphis received national attention in October. Employees alleged multiple instances of “chronic pregnancy discrimination,” including refusals to allow pregnant employees to take on less strenuous tasks, leading to several miscarriages was reported in The New York Times.
Prior to those claims, employees at the same warehouse reported sexual harassment and unsafe, hazardous working conditions, including extreme heat. In the last year, more than a dozen XPO employees have filed Equal Employment Opportunity claims against the company relating to unsafe conditions.
Now the group of House members are asking that the Committee on Education and the Workforce “to bring forth transparency for the public by looking into, investigating, and calling for, if deemed necessary, relevant stakeholders to testify before the Committee.”
“We strongly urge the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to investigate this matter swiftly, hold a hearing on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, take all necessary actions to provide XPO an opportunity for transparency to the American public, and ensure that XPO Logistics remains in full compliance with federal regulatory standards,” the letter reads.
In response to the claims of pregnancy discrimination, the House members asked that the committee consider the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which mandates employees provide reasonable accommodation to pregnant workers, unless it would pose an undue hardship on the business.
“Hundreds and thousands of workers could be at risk at XPO Logistics facilities if the aforementioned allegations are accurate,” the letter reads. “While the current issues raised may be local and isolated, further investigation and oversight should be executed to ensure that hundreds and thousands of workers, nationwide, are not at further risk.”
Cohen said he has met with XPO employees, as well as the company’s senior management, and there are still “differences of opinion.”
“There are still some differences of opinion in this matter and the best way to resolve them would be to let both sides testify in a public hearing,” Cohen said. “The Education and Workforce Committee’s oversight of the company and its practices would shed light on the company’s practices and should, I hope, lead to nationally relevant reforms for American workers.”