Former FedEx employee Jennifer Harris was awarded a $365 million judgment by a jury on Oct. 25 in Fort Worth, Texas. Harris filed a civil lawsuit against FedEx in 2021 for racial discrimination.
Harris worked for FedEx for nearly 13 years before she was terminated after she told human resources that she was being discriminated against because of race.
Harris began working at FedEx in corporate sales after joining the management program in 2007. She won numerous performance awards as she rose the corporate ladder. Harris was ranked in the top six percent of salespeople at FedEx one year and reached the prestigious President’s Club title with her team in 2010.
Despite her performance, she told ActionNews5 she was targeted at work because of her race. Instead of outward attacks such as being called racial slurs, she said she was sabotaged in the workplace. In 2019, she was asked to take a demotion.
“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,” said Harris. “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.”
Harris continued to say that after she notified human resources of the issue, the company left her in a hostile work environment. She said after she was retaliated against, she was eventually terminated by FedEx.
“They proceeded to do a sham investigation and still left me in that hostile work environment, and nothing was done about it.”
Harris filed a lawsuit in May of 2021. The jury sided with Harris and awarded her the largest amount ever awarded in a discrimination suit against FedEx. According to Harris’ Attorney Brian Sanford, the jury wanted to send a message.
“The jury obviously wanted to send a message to FedEx: change your ways,” said Sanford.
FedEx is apparently not happy with the verdict. The communications director for FedEx Services, Shannon Davis, released a statement announcing plans to appeal the decision and doubled down on being in the right by firing Harris.
“We strongly disagree with the verdict and will appeal. FedEx does not engage in or tolerate retaliation. We followed our protocols for performance management with Ms. Harris and are confident that we acted properly regarding her termination.”