Temporary Employees Should Be Screened Like Direct Hires

temporary employeeFormer DHL warehouse worker, Walter Pickett, is a temporary employee that filed a class action lawsuit claiming the logistics conglomerate discriminated against him for having a criminal history. Mr. Pickett wanted to transition as a full-time employee of DHL to take advantage of benefits and job security. He worked successfully for seven months at a DHL Supply Chain warehouse in University Park. Before he was hired for the position of temporary employee, Mr. Pickett disclosed his past criminal history.

According to the former employee, a DHL supervisor informed Mr. Pickett that criminal background checks were not conducted on the temporary workforce; however, if he were to apply for a regular position with the organization, they would then conduct a background check. From there, they may potentially take adverse action for both the new position and his current temporary employee status.

For eight months, Mr. Pickett worked alongside DHL employees to perform the same duties and responsibilities. In November of 2016, Mr. Pickett applied to change his status from temporary employee to full time employee and applied for the same position that he already held as a temporary employee. A background check was completed as a part of DHL’s hiring policy for regular hires. On December 8, 2016, Mr. Pickett received a letter from DHL that informed him that he was denied of employment based on information contained on his background check.

Mr. Pickett retained Ossai Miazad, a counseling partner with Outten & Golden LLP, and this was his statement on DHL’s decision:

“Mr. Pickett asked 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.”

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. DHL could have potentially 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).