FedEx settles race discrimination case
for nearly $55 million
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
April 12, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A federal judge is scheduled to
hold a hearing in San Francisco Friday on whether to grant preliminary
approval of a nearly $55 million settlement of a race discrimination
lawsuit against FedEx Express.
The proposed settlement was filed with U.S. District Judge Susan
Illston on Monday by lawyers for FedEx workers.
Under the pact, about 20,000 black and Hispanic workers in FedEx's
western U.S. region will receive $38.5 million and their lawyers
will receive $15 million for fees and costs. Another $1.35 million
in interest can be used for future administrative costs.
FedEx Express is the world's largest package delivery company
and is a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., based in Memphis, Tenn.
The company does not admit to discrimination in the settlement
and FedEx Chief Executive Officer David Bronczek said yesterday
that the firm agreed to the resolution to avoid further legal
Bronczek said, "Let me be clear - FedEx does not discriminate
and did not discriminate in this case - period."
The chief executive said, "We voluntarily entered into this
consent decree to avoid the likely greater expense of continued
proceedings in an unpredictable and often irrational litigation
The lawsuit was filed in 2003 and alleged that the company discriminated
against black and Hispanic workers and lower-level black managers
in pay and promotions.
The workers covered by the settlement include people who have
worked as freight handlers, checker-sorters, swing drivers, ramp
drivers, customer service agents and dispatchers in California,
Washington, Utah and Hawaii since 1999.
FedEx also agreed to stop using a test known as the Basic Skills
Test for certain jobs, make changes in its promotion procedures
and enhance its diversity training.
If Illston grants preliminary approval, the next step will be
to send out notices to class members and seek their consent to
In a separate development yesterday, a federal jury in San Francisco
awarded $3 million to a Stockton woman in a lawsuit against FedEx
for sexual harassment and retaliation.
Charlotte Boswell, a former dispatcher at a FedEx facility in
Oakland, claimed that her supervisor, Norman Stiles, sexually
harassed her and changed her work hours to a weekend shift in
retaliation when she rejected his sexual advances. She said the
change in shift forced her to resign because she could not arrange
child care for those hours.
The jury award included $300,000 for lost pay, $250,000 for emotional
suffering and $2.45 million in punitive damages against FedEx.
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