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01/28/2009

FedUp: Gay employees overnight us their frustrations

by Jeremy Hooper

If a company only offers domestic partnership benefits to a bare percentage of their employees, should they be given credit as "gay-friendly" in this particular area? Well that's exactly what some LGBT FedEx employees are asking now that a prominent survey has given their employer a pro-gay 200901281053pass in the DP arena.

The situation: In a recent Fortune magazine survey of America's best companies to work for, the shipping giant was given an unqualified positive for their decision to offer DP benefits for same-sex couples. Only problem? Well, it seems that these benefits aren't offered to the vast majority of their workforce. The benefits are apparently less on the sweeping side, and more on swept under the rug side.

This from a reader:

Please help expose discrimination at FedEx

Recently FORTUNE magazine announced the 100 Best Companies to Work for 2009. The list includes great companies such as FedEx. Unfortunately, when Great Place to Work Institute conducted the Best Companies survey on behalf of FORTUNE magazine it gave FedEx unequivocal full credit for the partial benefits they offer to its gay and lesbian employees. (
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2009/snapshots/90.html)

Presently, FedEx Corp only offers domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples in California, where its mandated by state law, and at its FedEx Office subsidiary, headquartered in Dallas and having about 22,000 employees worldwide per its website. This leaves lesbian and gay employees living outside of California and not working for FedEx Office disenfranchised of domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples i.e. New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, New York, etc.

In other words, FedEx misrepresented the facts about offering domestic partner benefits to its 290,000 'team members' and FORTUNE simply decided to look the other way knowingly that FedEx gay and lesbian employees working at FedEx Express headquarters in Memphis, TN, are NOT offered these benefits. FORTUNE is giving 100% thumbs up for 10% effort.

Moreover, one may view FedEx's HRC score of 55 which shows that the company does not offer domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples. (
http://www.hrc.org/issues/workplace/organization_profile.asp?organization_id=500&search_id=1&search_type=Quick)

Great Place to Work Institute (the firm who conducted the survey) says on its website:

"
We are dedicated to building a better society by helping companies transform their workplaces. Our work is based on the major findings of more than 20 years of research - that trust between managers and employees is the primary defining characteristic of the best workplaces. We offer services and tools to help companies build trust and become more effective organizations." (See http://www.greatplacetowork.com/)

Well it failed....FedEx employees started posting the following at FORTNUE's blog (
http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/01/21/100-best-companies-to-work-for-2009):

-"As a five year employee of FedEx I strongly agree that it is a great place to work but, Fortune’s choice to indicate that the company offers domestic partner benefits is a disservice to its readers. Outside of the Office (Kinko’s) division, FedEx only offers domestic partner benefits where it is compelled to do so by law. To see Fortune give an unequivocal ‘YES’ for covering less than 10% of their workforce is frustrating."

-"FedEx does NOT offer domestic partner benefits unless required by law (CA). Their profile is misleading and incorrect to its readers, shareholders and employees."

Other comments are found at:
http://www.topix.com/com/fdx/2009/01/fedex-named-among-fortune-magazinea-s-2009-a-oebest-companies-to-work-fora:

-"As a 23 year FedEx employee who works at FedEx World Headquarters in Memphis, TN, I was recently denied domestic partner benefits for my same-sex partner and bereavement leave once he passed away. I was asked to take personal or vacation time to make funeral arrangements. FORTUNE magazine got it wrong and/or FedEx lied on their survey submission. This is not a gay friendly employer as stated by FORTUNE or claimed by FedEx."

We're checking in with all involved parties, and will be sure to keep you posted.

**UPDATE: HRC has now taken this on.

**UPDATE2: If you'd like to register a complaint, you can do so here. We recommend you be firm but courteous.

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Your thoughts

Time to see what "brown" can do for me. They scored a perfect score on HRC's equality index.

Posted by: Ed | Jan 28, 2009 5:52:10 PM

Thanks for sharing this post! The ever declining mail volume added to put pressure on the postal service to reduce the workforce. FedEx, for example, has a lot of upcoming layoffs. The worst of the FedEx layoffs are hitting Memphis, home of Elvis, and this is a case where it really is the Heartbreak Hotel. However, they also know to not be cruel, as employees affected, about 14,000 of them, will receive severance packages and job counseling, which may save them from payday loans for a while. Other areas are going to be affected as well, but Memphis will be the hardest hit. It's good that they get severance pay, because the affected employees couldn't get payday loans as a result of the FedEx layoffs.

http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/04/03/fedex-layoffs-hit-memphis-hardest/

Posted by: Lance S | Apr 8, 2009 5:12:42 AM

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