FedEx seeks to void verdict for former worker who alleged bias


(Reuters) — FedEx Corp. said it would ask a federal judge in Texas to throw out or reduce a jury’s $366 million damages award to a Black former employee who accused the company of disciplining and firing her after she complained about racial discrimination.

In a regulatory filing Tuesday, FedEx said it expected the Oct. 25 award by a Houston jury to Jennifer Harris of $1.16 million in compensatory damages and $365 million in punitive damages to be reduced.

The package delivery company said that under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, punitive damages are normally capped at less than 10 times compensatory damages, with a multiple closer to one being appropriate when compensatory damages are substantial.

FedEx said it believed any payout up to $75 million would be covered by insurance, subject to a $10 million retention.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Harris said FedEx hired her in 2007 and that she had been a “rising star,” being promoted six times and reaching the position of district sales manager, before being asked by her white supervisor in March 2019 to take a demotion.

She said she later reported discrimination by her supervisor to FedEx’s human resources department, leading to a letter complaining about her “unacceptable performance,” a written warning, and her termination in January 2020.

 

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