FedEx ordered to pay $61 million in bias suit

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A Superior Court jury in Alameda County, Calif., has awarded $61 million to two FedEx Ground drivers of Lebanese descent who said a manager had harassed them with racial slurs for two years. The two drivers, Kamil Issa and Edgar Rizkallah, said in the discrimination lawsuit that they were called “terrorists” and other epithets in 1999 and 2000 by a terminal manager for the company’s facility in Oakland.

The suit accused FedEx Ground of failing to enforce its own anti-discrimination policies and to prevent abuse of minority groups.The jury awarded the men $50 million in punitive damages on top of the $11 million in compensatory damages the jury awarded them on May 24, said their San Francisco lawyer, Christopher Dolan.

The men complained to senior managers, but the company ignored their claims, Dolan said. FedEx Ground managers had testified that the harassment never happened. The company said it planned to appeal.