SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) – Twenty-six minority employees are charging package-delivery company Federal Express with racial discrimination in a state class action suit.
“The evidence in this case shows that FedEx treats its minorities as though the civil rights movement never happened” said Waukeen McCoy, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
The 189-page complaint outlines charges of racial discrimination, harassment; wrongful termination; fraud and violation of the equal pay act, among other claims. It does not specify a dollar amount the plaintiffs are seeking.
“These claims appear to be without merit,” FedEx (FDX: up $0.08 to $52.04, Research, Estimates) said in a written response issued Thursday afternoon from its corporate office in Memphis, Tenn.
“Many of the employees involved are currently employed by FedEx and have enjoyed promotions and other opportunities inconsistent with their claims of discrimination. FedEx will vigorously defend this suit.”
The company is proud of “its progressive people philosophy and its diverse workforce,” the statement said, and many of the employees involved in the lawsuit “chose to bypass” procedures the company has in place to address such concerns.
Lasonia Walker, a plaintiff in the suit, claims she was wrongfully terminated after 10 years with the company. “Coming in as a courier, I applied for positions many times and was overlooked,” she said.
Another plaintiff, Rosa Olmos, who still works at FedEx. said, “You just close your eyes to what they’re doing to you.”
McCoy has launched similar class action suits against Apple Computer and Interstate Bakeries, the makers of Wonder Bread in which there was a $120 million award to plaintiffs. He said he believes this suit is the most “egregious” of any of the discriminations suits filed so far.
McCoy also said he expects the state class action suit to go national, “because we believe that these violations, from our research, are rampant and deep-rooted across the nation.”
“With the filing of this lawsuit. our message is to send an unequivocal message to corporate America that discrimination will not be tolerated in any form whatsoever. Discrimination in the work place must stop and it must stop now,” he said.