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Senators Ask Verizon and XPO About Pregnancy Discrimination

Nine senators, led by Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, wrote letters to the chief executives of Verizon and XPO Logistics demanding that the companies account for the conditions in a Memphis warehouse where several women suffered miscarriages.

The senators’ inquiry was spurred by a New York Times investigation last month that revealed that six women had lost their pregnancies after being denied breaks from heavy lifting at the warehouse. The facility is operated by XPO Logistics and handles cellphones, tablets and other gadgets that Verizon ships to customers on the East Coast.

“In light of this latest disturbing report that chronicles XPO turning a blind eye to pregnant workers, we urge XPO to re-evaluate its priorities with its work force and make immediate changes to its current, allegedly deleterious workplace practices,” the senators wrote to XPO’s chief executive, Bradley Jacobs.

In a letter to Verizon’s chief executive, Hans Vestberg, the senators urged the telecommunications giant to push XPO to change its practices.

The letters ask both companies whether they have policies about providing accommodations for pregnant workers and whether they train their managers to deal with requests for job adjustments from expecting mothers. The senators — eight Democrats and an independent, Bernie Sanders of Vermont — also asked whether Verizon had initiated an investigation into the XPO warehouses that handle its products.

The senators asked the companies to respond to their questions by Dec. 4.

Representatives of XPO and Verizon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

In last month’s Times article, a Verizon spokesman said the company was “deeply troubled” by the issues raised by The Times and said it would open an investigation. An XPO spokeswoman said at the time that workers’ allegations about their treatment at the warehouse “are unsubstantiated, filled with inaccuracies and do not reflect the way in which our Memphis facility operates.”

This story originally appeared in the November 21, 2018 print edition of the New York Times.

 

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