A major less-than-truckload (LTL) freight shipper was hit with a pair of employment discrimination claims from two former employees with curiously similar claims at one of its Midwest terminals.
First, an employee was terminated by the shipper after refusing to work overtime to complete a necessary pick-up from a key customer. The employee claimed his termination resulted not from his insubordination but from the company's race discrimination against him.
Soon after, a second employee, who was Caucasian, was terminated after he was heard uttering, "I quit," as he walked out of a disciplinary meeting with a supervisor, placed his ID badge on a table and left the facility in the middle of the day. Later, this employee claimed he left the meeting due to sudden illness and postulated that he was terminated because he opposed racial discrimination in the workplace.
Transportation Team Involvement
While the cases were independent of each other, the company faced two similar fact patterns relating to purported racial discrimination charges. As counsel for the shipper, Freeborn helped investigate the similar race discrimination claims and worked with the company as it maneuvered several interim staffing changes at the terminal to preserve cooperation by key company witnesses. As the cases proceeded, we also provided advice on ongoing personnel and management practices.
Working with the company, Freeborn prepared for trial confident in the fact that the plaintiffs’ accounts differed substantially from the facts known to be true. After a trial of less than a week in the first case, a jury decided in favor of the company in less than three hours of deliberation. As a result, a satisfactory settlement was quickly reached in the second case.