Woman at center of $365 million racial bias lawsuit against FedEx speaks out
TARRANT CO., Texas (WMC) - Jennifer Harris says it’s been a long fight against her former employer, FedEx.
“People do not make racial slurs anymore, they don’t directly call you things that would raise your eyebrow. With racism, discrimination, and retaliation, it’s their actions that demonstrate that,” Harris said.
She’s been with the company since 2007, but things changed in 2021 when she filed a lawsuit claiming FedEx discriminated against her due to her race.
“Unfair treatment to my peer group... rules that didn’t standardly apply... there were loopholes made to sabotage me, to make it falsely appear that I wasn’t performing,” she said.
Harris says once management was made aware of her claims, retaliation started.
“They proceeded to do a sham investigation and still left me in that hostile work environment, and nothing was done about it,” she said.
A Texas jury agreed with Harris on Oct. 25.
Now, FedEx is paying for it.
“The jury obviously wanted to send a message to FedEx: change your ways,” said Attorney Brian Sanford.
FedEx was not found guilty of discrimination, but a Texas federal judge ordered the company to pay 365 million in punitive damages because of its retaliation.
Local Attorney Alan Crone says while the amount is shocking, the verdict isn’t.
“The first thing it does to FedEx is send a signal that they need to look at their racial discrimination practices and make adjustments because at least one jury didn’t think they were doing the right thing,” Crone said.
Harris says even though the process isn’t over, she wants people to understand how important it is to speak up.
“I know that this was not just a one-off situation because this was escalated to VP, SVP, and other people within the HR organization,” she said. “So if other people are filing complaints and they get the same response and treatment that I did, I know that the system within FedEx is broken as well.”
In a statement issued on Tuesday, FedEx announced that it is appealing the jury’s verdict:
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