FedEx Says Arab-Americans Alleging Bias Not Protected by Mass. Law

July 23, 2007

Four Arab-American men claim in a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts against FedEx Corp. that their supervisors subjected them to religious and ethnic slurs, called them terrorists and gave them less lucrative delivery routes.

“They all came to this country because they wanted a better life for their families, and this is what they got,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, a lawyer representing the men.

FedEx spokesman Maury Lane, while refusing to comment on the specific allegations in the lawsuit, said the company does not tolerate discriminatory behavior.

FedEx has argued that the plaintiffs, who worked for the company’s ground package division in Wilmington, Mass., were independent contractors and ineligible for protection under state antidiscrimination laws.

The suit seeks damages similar to a discrimination case filed last year by drivers of Lebanese descent in California. The jury in that case awarded $61 million to two FedEx employees who contended that a manager harassed them with racial slurs. A judge reduced the judgment to $12.5 million.

The lawsuit filed in Middlesex Superior Court claims Loay el-Dagany, originally from Kuwait; Montaser Foad Harara, who is of Palestinian descent; Oukhayi Ibrahim of Morocco; and Yasir Sati from Sudan, experienced a “pervasive hostile work environment and have been treated differently and less favorably than non-Arab, non-Muslim drivers in the terms and conditions of their employment.”

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ruled in March that the employees’ complaints were valid, clearing the way for the drivers to pursue their case.


Information from: The Boston Globe,

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