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FedEx ordered to pay $366 million for racial discrimination

The international shipping company Federal Express employs thousands of people in New York and around the country, and it can be held responsible in court when it treats them unfairly. The Memphis-based company was reminded of this in October 2022 when a jury in Texas awarded a former Federal Express employee who alleged that she had been subjected to racial discrimination $366 million in damages. Federal Express responded to the verdict by filing a motion to reduce or eliminate the damages. On Feb. 2, a U.S. District Court judge rejected the motion.


In her racial discrimination lawsuit, the woman, who is black, claimed that she was considered a “rising star” and received six promotions times during her 12 years working for Federal Express. Before the events that led to the litigation unfolded, she had reached the position of district manager. She alleges that she was fired three days after a white supervisor asked her to accept a demotion.

Perfunctory investigation

The woman says that Federal Express launched an investigation when she reported the incident and alleged that her supervisor’s motives were based on race. The investigation was wrapped up quickly, and it concluded that Federal Express had violated no employment laws. The woman described the investigation as a “sham,” and the jury agreed. They awarded her compensatory damages in the amount of $1.16 million and punitive damages in the amount of $365 million. Federal Express has announced that it plans to file an appeal.

The Civil Rights Act

The damages awarded in this case show that employers that violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act can pay a high price. Federal Express may have been ordered to pay far less and could have avoided a lawsuit altogether if their managers had taken this woman’s allegations seriously and investigated them thoroughly. The defendants in lawsuits like this one are ordered to pay punitive damages when they have acted egregiously and the jury wishes to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.