UPS Lawsuit; Federal Courts Confirm Dismissal of UPS Lawsuit

A UPS Store clerk who was unlawfully fired filed a suit against the company, claiming that the unjust firing deprived her of the chance to pursue a promising career. The case has been assigned to a Washington state attorney because of the proximity of the case to Seattle. UPS Stores is primarily in the Northeast. The incident is reminiscent of the heated rhetoric between employers and employees regarding their access to contraceptives. In this case, a female UPS employee made a sexual advance towards a male store clerk. The ensuing argument escalated into a shouting match that resulted in physical injuries and threats of violence from both sides.

UPS Lawsuit

The suit further alleges that UPS discriminated against the employee by not granting her an equal opportunity to compete for lower-level management jobs since she was female. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the complaint. It held that because there had been no improper or discriminatory intent or motivation on the part of UPS, it could not be said that UPS intended to discriminate against the employee. The Court also concluded that because UPS had adopted a twelve-month leave policy, it could not be said that it arbitrarily selected the twelve months rule to discriminate against the plaintiff. Accordingly, the complaint was dismissed.

Plaintiffs now seek justice for their injuries and seek to secure a refund for expenses they incur while trying to pursue their lawsuit.

They contend that UPS discriminated against them on the basis of gender. UPS disputes this contention on the basis that it has a 12-month leave policy in place for all employees, regardless of sex. Additionally, UPS states that it does not tolerate any form of sexual harassment in its workplace. It also claims that plaintiffs’ complaint is frivolous and asserts that there is no proof that they suffered injuries as a result of the alleged discriminatory actions. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of UPS and awarded $1.75 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

UPS proceeded with an expensive effort to fight this lawsuit in the courts.

Plaintiffs counsel was instructed not to attempt to get a new trial based on the Court’s findings regarding the validators’ mortality tables. The Court ignored the premise that it was never made clear that the mortality tables could be used as evidence at trial. The Court also declined to instruct the jury that it could disregard the allegedly discriminatory act, stating that plaintiffs had failed to establish that such conduct occurred. The Court did, however, allow plaintiffs to introduce hearsay evidence about the allegedly discriminatory act.

On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit vacated the award to the plaintiff, stating that there was sufficient evidence to support a finding that UPS discriminated against him/her in violation of the Title VII.

The Court of Appeal affirmed the denial, allowing UPS to seek justice for its actions in this case based on its own employee rights policies. On remand, the Court of Appeals determined that plaintiffs had failed to establish that their motive for bringing the suit was based on a hostility or intimidating environment. Pursuant to the Court’s logic, the District Court should not have allowed evidence of the alleged hostile environment because there was no hostile environment.

On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the denial of a rehearing en banc.

The Court of Appeals found that plaintiffs failed to establish that their motivation for filing the lawsuit was based on a hostility or intimidating environment. The three-judge panel further concluded that the evidence did not support a finding that UPS had a hostile or intimidating environment because it did not recognize that UPS had any official policy limiting employment opportunities of minorities. Finally, the three-judge panel concluded that the evidence did not support a finding that UPS had a likelihood of prevalence. Accordingly, a rehearing en banc was denied.

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