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FedEx Reels After a Employment Discrimination Suit Ruling

May 20, 2008
FedEx has been under the a few strains lately. Not only have they been pressured from unions and employment lawyers who question their tactics on how they separate the private business franchise model with the compensation they provide, but also several discrimination suits that are individual and class-action. Currently a major case launched by a Houston employment lawyer and their client, Derosher Price, has ended with a nearly 3 million dollar ruling for the plaintiff.

According to the testimony, price was passed over a promotion for his security job in 1999. Back then, Price attempted to sue FedEx on discrimination charges but the case was later dismissed and lost when he tried to appeal in 2002. Price sued them over race discrimination and believed that the promotion was passed over because his superiors harbored negative racial feelings against him.

However, despite the lawsuit, the company started reprimanding price for his work performance, according to him in his following court case -- part of his disposition in the next suit. Some of what the reprimanding was the way he was gathering information about his performance asking his fellow work peers about their account of his job performance. He was trying to leverage a rebut in light of the initial reprimands he received.

Price, who had worked there at FedEx from 1984, got his third final warning in 2005 and was fired. FedEx says this was the third warning in 12 months. Price hired a Houston employment lawyer and took FedEx to court again (in Houston) and won by jury's decision.

Others that Burden FedEx

The Price case was not an anomalous occasion; there were a string of complaints. In fact FedEx just settled on a case that possibly ranked in among the top 10 discrimination cases in the U.S. in regards to fees and settlements. FedEx's Express unit was the target of a class action lawsuit which included multiple complaints of their human resources department allegedly fostering a hostile environment for people of color by allowing racial bias go unchecked.

Now after the settlement was handed down, they also were advised to change a part of their hiring and screening process. The "Basic Skills" test they provide for every employee as a prerequisite to be promoted to positions of higher power and responsibility was found to be ineffective. Yet the test was showing a skew in numbers -- 86 percent of white employees passed while 47 percent black and 62 percent Latino showed passing scores.

FedEx said it would make its performance evaluation "less discretionary" in addition to scraping their screening test.
About the Author
Rosenburg & Sprovach (http://www.rosenberglaw.com) is Gregg Rosenberg and Ellen Sprovach, each a prominent Houston employment lawyer. They've tackled a variety of employment claims, everything from race discrimination to workers comp. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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