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A former United Parcel Service driver, whose case was revived by a federal appellate court last year after being dismissed, has secured a $600,000 verdict in her gender discrimination case.
A jury in federal court in Midland, Texas, last week awarded Amber Ibarra $150,000 in economic losses, $150,000 in mental anguish and emotional distress, and $300,000 in punitive damages. The verdict was announced this week by her attorneys.
Ms. Ibarra had worked as a driver for Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. when she was terminated in 2009 for “recklessness resulting in a serious accident” after she lost control of her van and struck a telephone pole while delivering packages. She received a traffic citation and the vehicle was towed, according to a September 2012 ruling in the case by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in Amber Ibarra v. United Parcel Service.
Ms. Ibarra filed a grievance under her union's collective bargaining agreement challenging her termination and also filed a sex discrimination case in federal court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A federal district court agreed with UPS that the union grievance procedure provided an exclusive remedy to her Title VII case and granted UPS summary judgment dismissing the case.
But a three-judge panel reinstated the case, holding that the collective bargaining agreement “does not clearly and unmistakably waive a union member's right to bring a Title VII claim in a federal judicial forum.” It remanded the case for further proceedings, which resulted in the jury verdict. The jury concluded UPS terminated, and failed to reinstate, Ms. Ibarra because of her gender.
Trial testimony showed that UPS managers gave Ms. Ibarra more packages to deliver than her male counterparts, even when she was pregnant. And she and other women at the UPS Odessa, Texas, facility were subjected to “a pattern of repeated insults and harassment based on gender,” according to the statement issued Monday by Ms. Ibarra's Midland, Texas-based attorneys, Holly B. Williams of Williams Law Firm P.C., and lawyer Brian Carney.
UPS said in a statement, “UPS is disappointed by the verdict in Midland. We'll evaluate the verdict and next steps for post-trial activity.”
(Reuters)—United Parcel Service said it will restructure pension liabilities for about 10,200 employees and take a related one-time charge of $896 million in the third quarter ending September.