Former FedEx worker claims racist co-workers ignored by management

By Jim Boyle | Aug 25, 2014

A former employee at a FedEx Ground located on Townsend Road in Philadelphia accuses the management of ignoring the hostile workplace allegedly created by father-daughter employees, according to a federal suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Rafael Smith, of Philadelphia, seeks punitive and compensatory damages for three counts, including racial discrimination, retaliation and defamation from his former supervisors at FedEx Ground.

According to the suit, Smith had a positive relationship with his managers since he started working as a package handler in 2007. When Smith received a full-time job with the federal government in 2009, his FedEx supervisors agreed to keep him on staff as a part-time employee, allowing him to work Saturdays, holidays and during government furloughs.

However, Smith claims that his supervisors' racial bias is generally evident by their practice of recruiting and hiring non-African American candidates for managerial positions, and it is specifically clear by their choice to not reprimand two allegedly racist employees, a father and daughter.

According to the claim, in early 2013 one employee began repeatedly using racial slurs around Smith and would walk away from work tables with minorities around them because she allegedly said that she preferred to only work with white people.

During one incident, the employee allegedly exploded at Smith and used a barrage of racial slurs. However, the managers investigated the matter by interviewing non-eyewitnesses instead of co-workers who observed the entire exchange.

Smith says he complained about his co-worker's behavior, but he was ultimately suspended as a result of the confrontation. The co-worker was eventually terminated, but for consistent tardiness, not racial discrimination.

With the co-worker gone, Smith still had to deal with her father, who allegedly picked up where she left off with frequent use of racial slurs. The claim says that at one point the father began to act as if he was ready for a fight. Again, Smith complained about the behavior, but the managers again suspended him, then later fired him in July 2013.

Smith also claims that after his termination, management posted pictures of the plaintiff that portrayed him as a violent threat.

The plaintiff is represented by Philadelphia attorney Jeremy Rosenbaum.

The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-04913-JP.

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