FedEx Employee Alleges Racism A Factor In Termination
Updated on 8/26/2019 3:08 PM PST
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San Diego: A former FedEx Employee from San Diego who was terminated in August of 2018 alleges that his termination was in part racially motivated and was retaliation from a supervisor who he had stood up to the day before.
Robert Willis had been working with FexEx for three years and had worked his way up to Ramp Supervisor. According to FedEx, Willis was terminated due for clocking out 30 minutes late and using that time to study for the nursing course he was taking. However, Willis asserts that he stayed behind 30 minutes waiting for a driver to leave the premises, staying back to make sure there were no issues on what was being picked up. "Sometimes issues arise and we're supposed to be there to resolve them. Also, many employers search on the computer and do other things unrelated to work in the Ram Office or break room and no one has ever said anything. I was singled out. " Willis tells Legend Magazine.
When asked why he felt his termination was racially motivated, speaking of his supervisor, Willis relates "Jon Bunell had used racially insensitive comments during a staff meeting in which he told us that we were not going to have carne asada tacos or fried chicken or watermelon but that they were going to have good food, namely, Tri-Tip Steak."
According to Willis, he was treated differently from the other non-black employees and had an encounter with Bunell a day before his suspension in which Bunell allegedly yelled at Willis. Willis later returned to Bunell's office to clarify an incident and request that Bunell not use disrespectful speech toward him again.
After his termination, Willis applied for unemployment. When FedEx contested it, they went before a judge. The judge awarded Willis the unemployment, ruling that he had not violated work policies and was entitled to receive compensation.
Willis also filed a grievance with FedEx with the hopes that they would resolve the issue and give him his job back. Willis never got a final response from FedEx.
According to Willis, he suffered sleepless nights, nightmares and had to speak with a mental health counselor to deal with the emotional trauma resulting from his termination he alleges was based on racism and retaliation.
When asked if he would want his job back after the incident Willis gave a clear-cut No.
"At this point, I would like an apology and compensation for the time I should have had a job until now. It's not right what they did to me. The atmosphere at FedEx is grueling. The managers expect us to run the whole show but as soon as something small goes wrong they are ready to throw us under the bus. They are constantly bending and breaking the rules, Willis answers. "
Legend Magazine learned that as of last week, a FedEx employee was suspended who was recently vocal over Willis termination after witnessing a similar incident where the FedEx employee was not punished.
Legend Magazine reached out to FedEx for a comment but has not heard back as of yet.
Willis is currently seeking legal representation to file a claims lawsuit.
FedEx issued the following statement:
"FedEx is committed to maintaining a work environment that is free from discrimination and retaliation of any kind. As a matter of policy, we do not comment on internal personnel matters." - FedEx