Julie Phineas of Lezgetreal recently came face-to-face with homophobia at the FedEx Kinkos (now renamed FedEx Office) on Hawthorne Blvd. in Torrance.
As she tried to access The Gay Ad Network site, a gay and lesbian advertising network, on the store’s self-serve computers, the computer prompted her for a password because it was considered an “adult” site.
Phineas met resistance when she asked an employee for assistance.
The clerk at the counter made degrading statements about what I was trying to view once I told her I was trying to print out a document from The Gay Ad Network.
She told me that I “would not be able to look at that stuff here”… She issued me a refund for the time I was connected to their self service computer, and while she did she felt it necessary to mention that “other customers would be offended” if I were allowed to view “site’s like that”.
I asked her who I could contact to change the filters. There was a sign on the wall with contact information and I asked her if I should contact the store directly or the number on the wall. She told me “Oh, they don’t have time for stuff like that” and waved off my question with her hand.
FedEx gets a middling 55 rating from the Human Rights Campaign, the pro-LGBT equality organization. In contrast, UPS scored a perfect 100, in part by providing domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples.
FedEx offers the benefits only “in certain subsidiaries” but is being credited with making progress on transgender issues with their employees. If Phineas’ experience is any indication, it appears more work needs to be done with retail outlet employees. Comments on her lezgetreal post purporting to be from FedEx employees laud the company’s efforts to make its work environment comfortable for gay employees.
The HRC Buyers Guide is a handy way to check out how major, household-name type businesses treat their LGBT employees. Companies that supply everything from cars, gas and pet food to electronics, household products and news are rated, with a breakdown of how each company scored.