XPO Logistics has launched an internal review of company culture and policies after allegations surfaced of poor workplace conditions and discrimination against pregnant employees at one of its warehouses in Memphis, Tenn.
On Dec. 4, several members of the U.S. House of Representatives called for an investigation into workplace discrimination of pregnant workers at an XPO Logistics warehouse in Memphis, Tenn., stemming from allegations in an investigative report in The New York Times. The report revealed questionable working conditions and accommodations for pregnant employees at the warehouse that may have led to several women suffering miscarriages, premature labor, and stillbirths. Many of the incidents listed in The New York Times article occurred before XPO Logistics purchased the warehouse in 2014, but as recently as this year, two women who worked at the facility had miscarriages.
In the statement, XPO said that it was deeply disturbed by the allegations and took immediate action to investigate the claims. Earlier this year, the company brought in lawyer and women’s issues advocate Tina Tchen to review the company’s workplace culture as it relates to gender equity. Tchen was asked to expand her review of the company to include the recent allegations. XPO said it was committed to implementing any of Tchen’s recommended improvements resulting from her broad mandate.
The company said it also took proactive steps to address the alleged issues, including what the company calls “a set of progressive new policies and benefits based on what we believe is a better way to support pregnant women and their families in the workplace.”
The steps include a new policy on pregnancy that aims to support pregnant women without penalizing them for any temporary change in the nature of their work. The Times investigative report included allegations that pregnant women, whose jobs involved moving heavy boxes at the factory, had asked supervisors to allow them to work with lighter boxes, but in those cases, their requests were denied.
According to XPO’s pregnancy care policy, pregnant women are to be granted automatic accommodation to any requested flexibility with job duties. These accommodations include changes to work times, changes to timing and frequency of breaks, changes to the timing of certain tasks, and help with lifting beyond what is typical for the job. The policy also includes the possibility of setting up an alternate work arrangement on a temporary basis.
Additionally, XPO grants up to 10 days of 100% paid leave to be used to prepare for the birth of a child and up to 10 days of 100% paid leave following the loss of a pregnancy, said the company.