A federal court jury in Midland, Texas, awarded a $600,000 verdict against UPS in a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by a former driver.
UPS Odessa, Texas, resident Amber Ibarra in 2009 after she was involved in an on-the-job single-vehicle accident. Ibarra argued that the accident was simply an excuse, and that she actually was fired because she is a woman. The jury agreed, awarding a six-figure verdict against UPS.
In the 2009 accident, Ibarra was driving a UPS truck when it hopped a curb and hit a telephone pole, causing no injuries. Trial witnesses testified that several male UPS drivers from the same facility in Odessa were allowed to keep their jobs despite being in far worse accidents, including two accidents involving fatalities and others involving serious injuries.
Trial testimony also showed that UPS managers gave Ibarra more packages to deliver than her male counterparts, including one incident when a manager set aside six 100-pound packages for Ms. Ibarra to deliver between 9:30 and 10 p.m. even though she was pregnant at the time.
Jurors also heard how Ibarra and other women at the Odessa facility were subjected to a pattern of repeated insults and harassment based on their gender, including testimony that male managers did not want women working at UPS based on their perception that women were weaker and slower and because they had menstrual periods.
UPS issued a statement saying it was disppointed by the verdict.
"We have strong policies against discrimination of any kind and reinforce both through training and a review process for any driver behavior issues or discharge."
UPS says it is evaluating the verdict and possible next steps.