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UPS weighs options after race bias verdict

Posted On: Apr. 15, 2016 12:00 AM CST

UPS weighs options after race bias verdict

United Parcel Service Inc. said it is considering whether to appeal a $5.3 million award given Thursday by a Lexington, Kentucky, jury to eight black men who had charged the Atlanta-based firm with a hostile work environment.

According to media reports, the Fayette County Circuit Court jury also found UPS had discriminated against one of the eight, and that the company had retaliated against two men after they complained.

There was testimony and evidence that an effigy of black UPS driver was hung from a ceiling for four days.

The jury awarded $1.5 million to one of the plaintiffs in the case, and smaller amounts to seven others, according to the reports.

A UPS spokeswoman said the company was disappointed with the jury verdict. It presented “a negative work environment, and we don't believe that is accurate,” she said. “We'll consider our options for appeal.”

The spokeswoman said also UPS has strict policies against harassment and discrimination, and there is a “no-retaliation policy for any employee concerns that are raised.”

“I'm hopeful UPS will take this opportunity to correct the racial injustices that permeate its operation,” said Luke Morgan, a member of law firm McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland P.L.L.C. in Lexington, who represented two of the plaintiffs in the case. “I also think it's important to note that a policy that is unenforced is worthless,” which was the case here, Mr. Morgan said.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued UPS last year, accusing the company of discriminating against male workers and job applicants who wore beards or long hair because of their religion.