A California jury awarded a deaf former FedEx worker employee $2 million in his lawsuit filed in Santa Clara Superior Court claiming the delivery company refused to provide him with sign language services, causes him to miss out on safety information and other meetings.
The jury passed down the award of back pay and damages Friday in Younes McHaar’s suit after finding the FedEx Ground Package System Inc. violated California labor and discrimination laws when it denied him American Sign Language interpreters for in-person meetings, on of the firms represent McHaar, Bryan Schwartz Law, announced Monday.
“FedEx knew that it had a problem with failing to accommodate deaf workers and yet, once again, failed despite Mr. McHaar beggin repeatedly for support so he could be a fully participating member of the workplace,” attorney Bryan Schwartz said about the case.
McHaar filed his suit against FedEx in April 2020. He said that from 2011 to 2017, he worked as a package handler at a Virgina location, where he sorted, loaded and unloaded packages.
McHaar alleged that he received several awards for his work performance, but he was never considered for any promotional opportunities, which were instead provided to non-deaf employees who had less experience. McHaar said he and other deaf employees were regularly denied effective interpretive services on the job.
Moreover, McHaar claimed that during safety meetings when protocols were described, he and other deaf employees received little to no information and couldn’t participate by asking qauesitosn. When he received an honor for his performance during one meeting, he didn’t know what was being said and coulndt actively participate.
McHaar said he transferred to a different FedEx location in 2017, hoping for better working conditions. Still, he was passed over for promotions in preference for non-deaf workers with less seniority, even though his work performance reviews were always positive.
FedEx sporadically provided video remote interpreting services for meetings as well as typed meeting agendas, but neither was consistently used for gatherings. HE said he was also harassed, as one supervisor yelled at him and waived papers in his face as if he were mentally impaied – with another manager spitting on him at one point.
The treatment caused McHaar to suffer from anxiety and stress, forcing him to quit his job in 2018.
McHaar is represented by J. Bernard Alexander III and Jacqueline Gil of Alexander Morrison and Fehr LLP and by Bryan Schwartz and Renato Flores of Bryan Schwartz Law.