Odessa Woman Wins $600,000 Verdict In Sex Discrimination Case Against UPS

Midland attorneys Holly Williams, Brian Carney secure win for former delivery driver

MIDLAND, Texas, Feb. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – A federal court jury in Midland, Texas, has awarded a $600,000 verdict against United Parcel Service (UPS) in a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by a former driver for the package-delivery giant.

The verdict represents the culmination of a four-year legal battle between Odessa resident Amber Ibarra and Atlanta-based UPS (NYSE:UPS). The company fired Ms. Ibarra in 2009 after she was involved in an on-the-job single-vehicle accident, although she 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.

“We always felt that if we could get a jury of Amber’s peers to hear this case, to hear what happened to her, and how she was treated, we would be fine,” says Midland attorney Holly Williams of the Williams Law Firm, P.C., who represented Ms. Ibarra at trial along with attorney Brian Carney. “The jurors agreed with us that women should be treated equally in the workplace, and I believe they intended to send a message with their verdict.”

In the 2009 accident, Ms. 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 Ms. 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 Ms. 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.

Williams Law Firm, P.C.

All Work @ Straight Time

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Eric Cantor will propose Federal Law that Ends Overtime Pay for hourly workers

In Eric Cantor’s February 2013 speech, he said he wanted to propose Federal Law that would end overtime pay for hourly workers. Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, mandates that certain workers get paid “time + 1/2” for overtime work. Eric Cantor wants to eliminate that law. Because — ya know — workers not getting paid for overtime hours worked out so good for workers before FDR enacted that Law.

Eric Cantor’s “end of overtime pay for workers” that he talked about in his February speech was overshdowed, in part, by the public whining Cantor did bitching that ‘Obama gave his speech at the same time as me … wah, wah, wah.’

In this month’s New Yorker Magazine, Ryan Lizza wrote an excellent article titled: “Can Eric Cantor, the Republican Majority Leader, redeem his party and himself?” in which Lizza reminded readers that Eric Cantor wants to end the Federal law that mandates certain workers get paid overtime for the extra hours they labor.
From the New Yorker Magazine: (page 12)

Jury says UPS owes $3.8 million in fatal Norwich crash


A jury has said an Oakdale truck driver and United Parcel Service must pay more than $3.8 million to the estate and widow of a Jewett City man killed in a Nov. 23, 2010, crash on Interstate 395 in Norwich.

The jury reached its verdict Wednesday after a three-day trial in front of Judge Susan Peck in New London Superior Court. Jury selection began Jan. 23.

George Upton, 55, was killed in an early morning crash near Exit 82 when his Ford Ranger pickup was hit from behind by a UPS tractor-trailer driven by Joseph Socha, 58. Both drivers were heading south.

The six jurors found Socha and UPS negligent and reckless in the crash. They awarded the estate $508,132 in economic damages and $1.5 million in noneconomic damages, and awarded Julie Upton, George Upton’s widow, $1.875 million.

The crash happened about 2:45 a.m. Socha was taking a load of packages from UPS’ facility in Chelmsford, Mass., to a facility in Norwich. Upton, also a truck driver, was heading to work at Tri-Mac in Bozrah. When hit from behind, Upton’s pickup smashed through a guardrail and traveled down a 40-foot embankment.

Upton, who was ejected from his pickup, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Odessan Says She Was Fired From UPS Simply Because She’s a Woman

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- An Odessan says she was fired from her job at UPS simply because she happens to be a woman. Now, she’s suing. The trial starts Tuesday morning at the Midland Federal Courthouse.

Amber Ibarra spent more than five years as the only female driver at the Odessa UPS Package Center.

“It’s been a very long roller coaster,” she said.

“There was definitely an environment that was hostile to women,” Ibarra’s attorney, Holly Williams, said.

Williams says Ibarra endured hellish relationships with the men she worked around at UPS. She describes the facility as having debilitating overtones of sexist mentality, which eventually cost Ibarra everything.

“When I lost my job, they took my livelihood away from me. [They took] my career,” Ibarra said.

According to the lawsuit, one male coworker repeatedly subjected her to offensive comments. On one occasion, he even paged her while she was with her mother and when she called him back, she claims he asked her to perform oral sex on him.

Williams says, “You can imagine how humiliating that would be.”

That same man, she says, would routinely call her a “[expletive] imbecile” and a “[expletive] idiot.”

“Obviously that’s just horrifying,” Williams said.

Ibarra and a few other female coworkers complained to management, and that male coworker was eventually terminated, but Ibarra says it subsequently led several male employees to retaliate against her.

The lawsuit lists a group of male employees who “do not want women in the workplace because they perceive that men are stronger, quicker, and faster than women, and women are weaker, slower, and have menstrual periods.”

Comments about female employees’ menstrual periods, we’re told, were common. Those comments were graphic and we’re told they happened multiple times on a daily basis.

“When you’re leaving the UPS office, at this point, and you’re out on the road, you’re thinking about this stuff all day. It’s unsafe because you’re upset thinking about how they’re kind of setting you up to fail,” Ibarra said.

“We’re told that women were given extra loads and more packages to deliver and heavier packages, just to give them a ‘hard time’,” Williams said.

Ibarra says she believes the sex discrimination she endured for so long eventually led to her termination.

It was in the area of 42nd Street and Golder Avenue where Ibarra got into an accident while driving the company truck.

“She hopped a curb and ran into a telephone pole. She was not injured. It was a single-vehicle accident,” Williams said.

The accident eventually resulted in Ibarra’s termination. She fought back, even taking her dispute to the Union but the decision to terminate was upheld.

The lawsuit references a handful of other male UPS employees who reportedly found themselves in far worse vehicle accidents while driving company trucks but still managed to continue working at the Odessa UPS Package Center.

One man, referenced in the lawsuit, “was involved in an accident involving five vehicles and one fatality” and another man referenced, “fell asleep, ran over and wrecked into a parked car on a highway.”

Ibarra is suing for sex discrimination and seeking damages for the money lost during the ordeal and all the emotional stress she says she was put through.

The attorney for UPS tells NewsWest 9, the company doesn’t believe it is appropriate to comment on the case until all the evidence is presented in the courtroom.