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Racial Discrimination Cost FedEx Over $360 Million! Is Your Company Next?

Not $360!

Not $3,600!

Not $36,000!

Not $360,000!

Not 3 Million!

Heck, not $30 Million!

Not $300 Million!

Over $360 Million!

Jennifer Harris was an employee at FedEx starting in 2007. She was onboarded as an account executive, and her performance led her to scale within the company.

According to reports, Harris said, “I worked really hard, was extremely successful. I was moved and promoted six times up into leadership and held three leadership positions [up through] the district sales manager level.”

Harris was believed to be doing well at FedEx, until she claims her white supervisor suggested she take a demotion in 2019.

The lawsuit claims the supervisor asked Harris to “step down to a lower position because she was ‘so good’ at what she was doing.”

She felt her race played a part in her treatment.

The lawsuit also mentioned, “when Harris declined to be demoted, the negative treatment escalated,” and Harris’s supervisor removed some of her commissions. It was after Harris complained to Human Resources that her supervisor issued a “Letter of Counseling for unacceptable performance on June 26, 2019, without a documented discussion as required by FedEx’s policies.”

These discriminatory practices and behaviors can no longer be swept under the rug. Well, they can, but they will come out and the consequences will be grand. Harris' claims were validated by a Texas jury on Oct. 25.

“The jury sent a clear message to FedEx and other organizations: change your ways,” said Attorney Brian Sanford, according to Action News 5.

What’s the message here? Organizations must be proactive in the infant stages.

1. Be sure to ask all managerial candidates in the interview process, “What are the top three ways you have practiced inclusive leadership, and what impact did it have on those around you?”

Answer: Candidate must be able to provide concrete examples of how individuals on their team or who worked cross functionally with that team were impacted in regard to career progression: were diverse individuals seen, heard, and valued? Did they receive recognition for their work and credited properly? Did the candidate address issues that come up for all team members? Did the candidate provide their direct reports, exposure moments and team members championed for their efforts?

If they can’t provide specific examples that yield impact, then don’t hire them!

2. Invest in DEI & Anti-Racism Learning & Development ongoing sessions. There needs to be a fully interactive curriculum. A few sessions won’t help. This needs to happen on a monthly basis and embedded in the organizational process.

3. Manager reviews should happen on a quarterly basis and should include DEI performance KPIs. That’s right! Direct reports and folks working cross functionally with that manager should provide anonymous feedback.

There are many proactive steps that an organization can take. If interested in being proactive, then contact me for a complimentary 15-minute consultation.

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