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Old 06-05-2006, 12:15 AM   #1
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Litigious Society

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SAN FRANCISCO - A jury awarded $61 million to two FedEx Ground drivers of Lebanese descent who claimed a manager harassed them with racial slurs for two years.

Edgar Rizkallah, 43, and Kamil Issa, 36, both of Pleasanton, said in the discrimination lawsuit they were called "terrorists," "camel jockeys" and other epithets in 1999 and 2000 by Stacy Shoun, terminal manager for the Oakland FedEx Ground facility where the two men were contract drivers.

An Alameda County Superior Court jury on Friday awarded the men $50 million in punitive damages, on top of $11 million in compensatory damages the jury awarded them on May 24, a lawyer for the plaintiffs and a FedEx Ground spokesman said Saturday.

Fedex Ground, the Pittsburgh-based trucking division of shipping giant FedEx Corp., plans to appeal. Spokesman Maury Lane said other managers testified that the harassment never happened, but he declined to discuss specifics of the case, citing ongoing litigation.

"The jury's verdict was wrong and excessive," Lane said. "The company has strong anti-discriminatory policies, and this is not tolerated."

Rizkallah and Issa, both Lebanese Americans, accused FedEx Ground and Shoun in the 2001 lawsuit of creating a hostile work environment and causing emotional distress, said their San Francisco attorney, Christopher Dolan.

The men complained to senior managers but the company ignored their claims, Dolan said.

The lawsuit accused FedEx Ground of failing to enforce its anti-discrimination policies.

Testimony included workers who said they witnessed the harassment, Dolan said.

Shoun was ordered to pay $1 million to the drivers as part of the compensatory damages award under a California law allowing individuals to be held personally liable for workplace harassment.

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Shoun on Saturday were unsuccessful.

He remains employed by the company, but a spokesman declined to say whether Shoun is still in management.
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Old 06-05-2006, 12:23 AM   #2
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The verdict was excessive but not wrong.
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Old 06-05-2006, 12:46 AM   #3
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"The verdict was.... not wrong"

Really? How do you know?



I actually know those two guys, both of them are decent, but $61 million???

What kind of idiots are serving on our juries nowadays?
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Old 06-05-2006, 12:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by 4U2Play
"The verdict was.... not wrong"

Really? How do you know?
Ok maybe I should rephrase...

If the system worked and the facts were truly presented then yes, something should have been done.

You can't create a work atmoshere with hated.
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Old 06-05-2006, 01:20 AM   #5
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Not sure "hatred" was involved here.

Kidding, joking, teasing maybe. Have you ever worked in a blue collar environment (ie. construction, warehouse, shipyard, etc)? This type of stuff goes on all the time between guys, it's not "hatred".

I wonder if the defendant being female had anything to do with the two Lebanese guys getting so offended.

Regardless, is that worth $61 million?
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Old 06-05-2006, 01:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by 4U2Play
Not sure "hatred" was involved here.

Kidding, joking, teasing maybe. Have you ever worked in a blue collar environment (ie. construction, warehouse, shipyard, etc)? This type of stuff goes on all the time between guys, it's not "hatred".

I wonder if the defendant being female had anything to do with the two Lebanese guys getting so offended.
Yeah I'm sure you'd love to work in an environment where you were called a terrorist or camel jockey...


Why is it so many can still justify racism with humor?

Quote:
Originally posted by 4U2Play

Regardless, is that worth $61 million?
I've already stated that I think it's excesive...
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Old 06-05-2006, 01:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Yeah I'm sure you'd love to work in an environment where you were called a terrorist or camel jockey...

You can roll your eyes all you want, my friend, but there are many people out there in all sorts of jobs who constantly tease, insult and belittle each other in all sorts of ways that would be deemed "hateful" and "racist" by people on the outside, such as yourself, who have no clue about the kind of rough social environments that exist in certain fields of work.

I've been called much, much worse than terrorist or camel jockey, all in good fun. I didn't go crying to a lawyer, I gave it back, and then some. If you didn't respond, or if you sulked about it, you would be ostracized... You obviously can't relate to what I'm describing, as you have never been in such an environment.

I could tell you a million stories about what went on at the construction company I used to work at as a kid, practical jokes, pranks and constant ribbing all day long, against all the different races there. I can imagine the lawyers and race merchants salivating if they were to have witnessed it.

I think it might have something to do with "male-bonding", perhaps, which is maybe why these Lebanese guys sued FedEx when they heard a female calling them names.
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Old 06-05-2006, 02:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by 4U2Play



You can roll your eyes all you want, my friend, but there are many people out there in all sorts of jobs who constantly tease, insult and belittle each other in all sorts of ways that would be deemed "hateful" and "racist" by people on the outside, such as yourself, who have no clue about the kind of rough social environments that exist in certain fields of work.
You have no clue of my background, so you might want to shut up before you stick your foot in your mouth.
Quote:
Originally posted by 4U2Play

I've been called much, much worse than terrorist or camel jockey, all in good fun. I didn't go crying to a lawyer, I gave it back, and then some. If you didn't respond, or if you sulked about it, you would be ostracized... You obviously can't relate to what I'm describing, as you have never been in such an environment.
Once again you are so wrong. Wow, your ignorance is outstanding...

But back to the subject, you are assuming "it's all in fun".
Quote:
Originally posted by 4U2Play

I could tell you a million stories about what went on at the construction company I used to work at as a kid, practical jokes, pranks and constant ribbing all day long, against all the different races there. I can imagine the lawyers and race merchants salivating if they were to have witnessed it.
And I have stories of my own working construction and environmental sanitation...
Quote:
Originally posted by 4U2Play

I think it might have something to do with "male-bonding", perhaps, which is maybe why these Lebanese guys sued FedEx when they heard a female calling them names.
I'll just roll my eyes again...
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Old 06-05-2006, 02:11 AM   #9
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An individual cant decide what someone else will find offensive. I dont see why people keep wanting to do so. Whether spoken in jest or all seriousness is irrelevant. It is racism. Some just seem to find elements of racism funny. Which is sad.
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Old 06-05-2006, 02:14 AM   #10
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Glad to see you losing your cool over this, bud, well done! "Your anger is a gift".

Nothing you said just there countered anything that I wrote.

You sure are good at rolling your eyes, though, very effective.
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Old 06-05-2006, 02:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by 4U2Play


Glad to see you losing your cool over this, bud, well done! "Your anger is a gift".

Nothing you said just there countered anything that I wrote.

You sure are good at rolling your eyes, though, very effective.
No one's losing their cool.

You spoke in uneducated judgements and proved you couldn't counter any arguments.

You show me where such racists terms should be accepted in a work place and we'll have a debate. Until then we don't have one.
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Old 06-05-2006, 02:36 AM   #12
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Oh, yes we do have a debate, and you're thick in the middle of it, whether you like it or not, my friend!

I based my judgements on your previous comments, which displayed a distinct ignorance of the kind of language and aggressive macho culture that exists in certain kinds of jobs. Perhaps your construction crew was very polite and kind, and never said anything crude to one another, so be it. I guess you would have sued them otherwise, and you would be a multimillionaire like those Lebanese guys.

It's not a matter of whether name-calling should or shouldn't be accepted in a work place, it is simply there, accepted and even encouraged in many types of jobs, not only in America, but in many other countries I have worked in.

Why aren't all these guys suing all the time? Because it is an accepted norm, regardless of whether you or some greedy lawyer deem it otherwise.
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Old 06-05-2006, 02:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by 4U2Play
Oh, yes we do have a debate, and you're thick in the middle of it, whether you like it or not, my friend!

I based my judgements on your previous comments, which displayed a distinct ignorance of the kind of language and aggressive macho culture that exists in certain kinds of jobs. Perhaps your construction crew was very polite and kind, and never said anything crude to one another, so be it. I guess you would have sued them otherwise, and you would be a multimillionaire like those Lebanese guys.

It's not a matter of whether name-calling should or shouldn't be accepted in a work place, it is simply there, accepted and even encouraged in many types of jobs, not only in America, but in many other countries I have worked in.

Why aren't all these guys suing all the time? Because it is an accepted norm, regardless of whether you or some greedy lawyer deem it otherwise.
Wow...

I will resist commenting on your acceptence of such a "culture".

The truth is no one should have to work or live in an atmoshere of fear or insignifigance, and that's what this language does.
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Old 06-05-2006, 02:55 AM   #14
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I guess if people didn't have to employ people that they don't neccessarily like then it wouldn't be a problem.
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Old 06-05-2006, 03:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I guess if people didn't have to employ people that they don't neccessarily like then it wouldn't be a problem.
What does it mean to "have to employ" people they don't like?
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Old 06-05-2006, 03:02 AM   #16
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Anti-discrimination laws, while they do serve an important purpose for maintaining civil society, sometimes forces the hand of less that reputable employers who would hold racist or sexist views. In this case as it's FexEx we aren't talking about a situation where that is entirely relevent.
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Old 06-05-2006, 03:09 AM   #17
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I often wonder where figures such as $61 million come from. Do they just make it up or is some sort of calculation involved? Anyway, I'd have to agree with BVS that the amount of money awarded seems excessive.

I've also worked a lot in blue collar environments (which apparently makes me an expert on these things), and it's true that there's more teasing going on there than in white collar environments. However, there clearly are limits and for me personally you go over the line when someone takes offense (which, if the story is true, these two guys have and they've taken it up with their boss) or if you violate company policy (the company obviously "has strong anti-discriminatory policies").

Were you their lawyer 4U2Play? Because that might explain the high amount.
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Old 06-05-2006, 03:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrTeeth
Were you their lawyer 4U2Play? Because that might explain the high amount.
Damn, I wish.

What the hell am I doing in my blue collar job defending myself against racial epithets all day long when I could be out there suing the hell out all these racist companies. Someone gave me some bad advice.
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Old 06-05-2006, 06:45 AM   #19
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Harassment and ethnic slurs are "male bonding"? I guess sexual harassment is "male bonding" too. Says some good things about men, I like to try to give them more credit than that. Harassment at work can break someone to the point of suicide, and that's no joke.

No one has any right to harass and insult someone in a work environment. It's not just considered "kidding around" by most people. I think the large dollar amount indicates that people are sick of that behavior. It's making a statement, usually dollar amounts such as that are an attempt to do that.
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Old 06-05-2006, 07:41 AM   #20
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$61 million is excessive to the point that it's sickening. Apparently if I ever want to live on easy street suing for "emotional distress" is the way to go. What happened to them isn't right, but lets cut the winnings down to a years salary or something. The world would be a much better place if people still subscribed to sticks and stones....
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