UPS survived a race-discrimination lawsuit only to be hit with a $2.1 million verdict for retaliation against a Detroit-area national account manager.
The account manager’s original lawsuit claimed that UPS removed him from a Ford Motor Company account because of his race. Since he received similar accounts in exchange for the Ford account and suffered no loss of title, salary or benefits, he lost the suit.
But the plaintiff also claimed that he suffered retaliation and harassment after the lawsuit, culminating in his firing in 2003 for insubordination. This time the jury saw things his way, awarding him $150,000 in back pay, $650,000 in compensatory damages and $1.3 million in punitive damages. UPS is appealing.
Final note: One lawsuit often begets another. That’s why it’s so important to train managers and supervisors to avoid even the appearance of retaliation. Employers may also be better off settling cases with a “no rehire” clause. That way, the employee takes his settlement and goes away—permanently.
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