A former DHL warehouse worker has filed a class action lawsuit claiming the logistics conglomerate discriminating against him due to having a criminal history. Walter Pickett worked as a temporary employee through Snider-Blake (staffing agency for DHL) and wanted to transition as a full-time employee of DHL to take advantage of benefits and job security. He worked successfully for 7 months as a DHL Supply Chain warehouse in University Park, Ill, before he was hired for the temporary position Mr. Pickett disclosed his past criminal history.

According to the compliant a DHL supervisor informed Mr. Pickett that criminal background checks aren’t conducted on temporary workforce. However, if he was to apply for a regular position with the company then they would conduct a background check, and potentially take adverse action for both the new position and his current temporary status.

For 8 months Mr. Pickett worked alongside DHL employees performing the same duties and responsibilities. Therefore, in November of 2016 Mr. Pickett applied to change his status from temporary employee to full time employee (he applied for the same position he was already doing). A background check was done based on DHL’s hiring policy for regular hires. On December 8, 2016 Mr. Pickett received a letter being informed that DHL was denying his employment based on information contained on a background check.

Ossai Miazad a partner with the firm Outten & Golden LLP (counsel retained by Mr. Pickett), had this to say about DHL’s decision:

Mr. Pickett asks the EEOC to investigate DHL’s practices because he believes they likely have a disparate impact on African-Americans and could violate Title VII. An employer cannot affirmatively demonstrate that its rejection of applicants is both job-related and consistent with business necessity when it allegedly allows temporary workers to perform the same job duties regardless of criminal history.”

DHL potentially could have avoided these allegations if they would have provided Mr. Pickett an opportunity to provide evidence of his rehabilitation (he earned a GED and multiple certificates, along with presenting to colleges on the importance of finding gainful employment).

Mr. Pickett’s charge alleges that DHL violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (as amended), and other laws (including Illinois discrimination laws) by refusing to hire Mr. Pickett and a putative class of applicants on account of their race, color, and/or sex. Mr. Pickett is African-American.