The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) now has the ability to file a single suit on behalf of a group of workers, instead of individually filing separate suits for each worker who experienced discrimination from the same employer. In EEOC v. FedEx Ground Package System, the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that the EEOC would be able to continue its lawsuit against FedEx. The EEOC represents 17 individuals who claim FedEx did not make reasonable accommodations for them in their jobs as package handlers.
This decision came down to determining the purpose of the EEOC. First, the court explained the EEOC exists to protect individuals and bring suit on their behalf to remedy employment discrimination. Additionally, the Court stated the EEOC exists to litigate for public interest, not only for individual employees. Prior cases have not allowed the consolidation of claims because the facts in those cases were so specific, it would be too difficult to decide them as a whole. Here, the decision turned on the fact that the employees have multiple facts in common, such as their disabilities and position at the company, which would allow the Court to come to a determination for the group.