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Fla. Jury Awards $1.5M in FedEx Case

Dec 23, 2004 | AP

A federal jury ordered FedEx Corp. to pay more than $1.5 million to a former worker who claimed he was harassed and threatened with demotion after he complained that two minority employees were passed over for promotion in favor of a white candidate.

The company, at the time called Federal Express Corp., must pay Theodore Maines $1.37 million for emotional pain and anguish and $200,000 in lost wages and benefits in the workplace retaliation case, the jury in Orlando ruled last week.

Maines, who is white, worked at FedEx's call center. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the package-delivery giant in 2002.

"It was very disillusioning to lose my career for doing what I believe was the right thing," Maines said Wednesday. "This is a bittersweet victory."

FedEx officials said they likely would appeal.

"We strongly believe that FedEx has a diverse work force," said Sandra Munoz, a spokeswoman for the Memphis, Tenn.-based company. "We do not tolerate discrimination."

The lawsuit stemmed from an incident in 2001 in which Maines, a senior manager in the customer account services department, sought to promote a black female employee and a Hispanic female employee.

Maines was overruled by a vice president, who favored a white female employee for the promotion, according to the lawsuit.

The vice president rescinded Maines' offer letters to the two minority candidates and instead promoted the white employee, the suit said. After Maines complained to the company's legal department, FedEx gave Maines the option of either accepting a demotion of five pay-grade levels or be issued a warning letter and face immediate termination for any subsequent infractions, the lawsuit said.

Maines quit the call center in 2001.

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