A Black former FedEx employee defeated the company in a $366 million discriminatory lawsuit on Oct. 25. The company is appealing the verdict, hoping that the judge would lower the award amount.
“FedEx believes ultimate compensatory and punitive damages and pre- and post-judgment interest up to $75 million will be covered by insurance, subject to a retention of up to $10 million,” the company said, according to Bloomberg.
The trial happened in a Texas federal court. The former employee, Jennifer Harris, explained in her lawsuit that she began working for FedEx in 2007 and received six promotions, eventually becoming a district sales manager. She was FedEx’s “rising star.” But imagine her surprise when her white supervisor terminated her in March 2019.
FedEx claimed they fired her for poor performance, which didn’t make sense considering she received six promotions. Harris asserted that she was fired based on her skin color and because she filed a discrimination complaint to human resources. She also stated that she faced harassment at work, describing it as “constant, obscene, obnoxious” and “shocking to the conscience of the ordinary person.”
But FedEx swore up and down that her termination wasn’t an act of retaliation.
“FedEx does not engage in or tolerate retaliation,” the company said to Bloomberg. “We followed our protocols for performance management with Ms. Harris and are confident that we acted properly regarding her termination.”
The jury found favor in Harris and ordered the company to pay $1.16 million in compensatory damages and $365 million in punitive damages.
Harris’ lawsuit wasn’t the first time the company was ordered to pay a lot of money to their legal opponents. In 2012, the company was ordered to pay $160 million in damages after a 22-year-old mother, and her 4-year-old daughter died after one of their big rig trucks crashed into a GMC truck. The 22-year-old’s one-year-old son made it out with severe injuries.