FedEx loses bid to overturn $366 million racial bias, appeal
A US judge rejected FedEx Corp.’s request to throw out or reduce a jury’s $366 million in damages for a black former employee who said the package delivery company fired her after she complained of racial discrimination.
FedEx on Thursday appealed the final judgment of Houston District Judge Kenneth Hoyt in favor of prosecutor Jennifer Harris, who worked at FedEx for more than 12 years before being fired in January 2020.
Harris said she had been a “rising star” promoting and making FedEx district manager six times before her white supervisor asked her to be demoted in March 2019.
The prosecution said she filed a discrimination complaint three days later, prompting the supervisor to complain about her work and issue a written warning, leading to her dismissal after a “sham investigation”.
Jurors awarded Harris $1.16 million in punitive damages and $365 million in punitive damages on October 25.
In an effort to overturn the verdict, FedEx said Harris did not substantiate her claims and was fired for her “unsatisfactory performance over a period of many months”.
FedEx also said the punitive damages should not have exceeded the compensatory damages awarded.
The Memphis, Tennessee-based company has said it believed the insurance would cover up to $75 million of each payout, with a $10 million withholding.
FedEx appealed the ruling to the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
Harris’s company and attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.
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