A white former United Parcel Service employee struggled to maintain his composure while recalling for a jury Friday his 2017 firing, ostensibly for having used profanity for the second time in 11 months.
“I was numb, completely numb and I couldn’t believe it,” 47-year-old Mason McConn said. “I was in shock.”
The Long Beach resident said he was escorted by managers out of the Ontario facility where he worked.
“I kind of took a breath,” McConn said. “I was kind of in a fog.”
McConn said he called his wife and that she was “kind of quiet” in her reaction.
He maintains his use of foul language was used as a pretext by UPS to wrongfully fire him to appease a Latino employee, Pedro Flores, with whom he had repeatedly clashed and who had threatened to sue the company. The white ex-UPS dock dispatcher alleges wrongful termination, racial discrimination, retaliation and defamation in the trial of his lawsuit before a Los Angeles Superior Court jury.
UPS maintains McConn lost his job not because he is white, but instead due to his allegedly unprofessional conduct in managing employees, including Flores and another driver with whom he had used foul language.
McConn worked for UPS for 12 years and his job was to supervise drivers who distributed freight throughout Los Angeles County. Profanity was commonly used by some drivers, including the one who reported him for using foul language in 2017, McConn said.
“He was a foul-mouthed trucker,” McConn said.
McConn said he used the same epithet during the incidents with Flores and the second driver after he became frustrated with them and their attitude toward work assignments.
He said he repeatedly complained to his supervisors about Flores’ behavior on the job and for calling the plaintiff a racist. He said that during one confrontation with Flores, the driver suggested they both go outside to settle their dispute.
“I said we could talk right here,” McConn said. “He was agitated. I was very uncomfortable how he said it.”
Flores threatened to sue McConn and to take away his home in the process, the plaintiff said.
McConn said management did nothing substantial despite his complaints about Flores. Ultimately, a human resources manager told him to refrain from giving written warnings to the driver and let management handle any disciplinary issues involving him, he said.
McConn said he believed UPS supervisors were growing increasingly concerned that Flores could sue for racial discrimination and were reluctant to impose the discipline he deserved.
Flores went on leave in 2016 and never returned to UPS, plaintiff’s attorney J. Bernard Alexander said.
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