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Terry Goddard Announces Ruling to Prevent Retaliation Against Employees

(Phoenix, Ariz. – March 14, 2008) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that U.S. District Court Judge Frederick J. Martone has ordered DHL Express (U.S.A.), Inc., to take measures to prevent retaliation against employees who complain about an unlawful employment practice or an employee who participates in an investigation about an unlawful employment practice.

The ruling held that the global shipping company retaliated against plaintiff and former DHL employee Jill Shumway in violation of the Arizona Civil Rights Act because she complained of sex discrimination, alleging that she was paid less than two male counterparts. After Shumway made her complaint, DHL denied her a large commission she had earned.

Shumway filed a charge of discrimination with the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General’s Office, which conducted an investigation and found reasonable cause that retaliation had occurred. The Attorney General’s Office and Shumway filed lawsuits in 2006 that were later consolidated and moved to the U.S. District Court. In February, after a four-day federal trial, the jury also found in favor of Shumway, based upon her retaliation claim, and awarded her $350,000 in compensatory damages.

Judge Martone issued his ruling last week based upon the State’s request that the Court order DHL to take specific steps to ensure the company would not retaliate against other employees. According to the order, DHL is:

  • Prohibited from retaliating against any employee, former employee or applicant for employment who opposes an unlawful employment practice or participates in an investigation of an unlawful employment practice.
  • Required to post notices in all Arizona locations advising employees that discrimination and retaliation are prohibited.
  • Required to expand and modify its written policies to clearly define the illegality of retaliation. Changes will include the elimination of language threatening employees if DHL determines that a complaint was not made in good faith or contained false information.
  • Required to institute an appropriate reporting procedure for complaints of discrimination and retaliation.
  • Required to provide training to current and future Arizona employees, district sales managers, regional sales managers, and vice presidents of sales regarding employment discrimination, retaliation, and reporting policies and procedures.

Shumway was represented by Douglas H. Clark, Jr. of Tucson. Assistant Attorneys General Michael Walker, Ann Hobart and Christopher Houk represented the Office of the Attorney General.

The Arizona Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against persons because of their race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin and genetic testing in the terms and conditions of their employment and also protects persons who have been retaliated against for opposing discrimination in the workplace. Any person who believes that his or her civil rights have been violated should call the Arizona Attorney General's Office Civil Rights Division toll-free statewide at 1-877-491-5742 or toll-free TDD at 1-877-624-8090.

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