A white former United Parcel Service employee deserves more than $12 million in damages after he was wrongfully fired in 2017 to appease a Latino employee, his attorney told a jury Tuesday.
Lawyer J. Bernard Alexander, on behalf of plaintiff Mason McConn, said during his closing argument in trial of his client’s Los Angeles Superior Court case that UPS management gave the benefit of the doubt to Latino UPS driver Pedro Flores, who was supervised by the plaintiff.
Flores falsely accused McConn of racism and caused bosses in the company’s human resources to fear he might sue the company for discrimination, according to Alexander, who also said the defense used “character assassination” during trial to portray McConn as an angry man who used profanity on the job, once pounded his fists on the table and ultimately deserved to lose his job.
UPS attorney William B. Hill will give his closing argument later Tuesday. During opening statements on Feb. 27, Hill said McConn was fired due to his “unprofessional conduct in managing employees.”
The attorney cited two clashes McConn had with Flores and a third with another UPS employee he supervised, saying his conduct fell below the standards of what are expected of a manager in his position. Hill also said McConn admitted he may have brushed against Flores during one of the incidents between them.
Hill said McConn was repeatedly counseled by a human resources manager for his interactions with the two workers, but to no avail. He also said UPS investigated complaints McConn made and took them seriously.
According to Alexander, McConn worked for UPS for 12 years and his job was to supervise drivers at the Ontario facility who distributed freight throughout Los Angeles County. McConn was well liked by drivers and management, who commended him for his work, the attorney said.
Although profanity was commonly used by those who worked on the UPS dock, the company cited two incidents of McConn using foul language twice within 11 months as a pretext to fire him, one involving Flores and the second pertaining to another driver, Alexander said.
However, Flores never heard the alleged profanity directed at him and the other driver said he did not care because he agreed such words were used in the UPS workplace, Alexander said.
UPS management never made a good-faith effort to look into the allegations made against Flores by McConn, a 47-year-old high school graduate from Long Beach who was left “devastated” by his firing and has had trouble finding comparable work, Alexander said.
“He lost his job because the rules did not equally apply to him,” Alexander said. “UPS was the perfect job for him and they took it away.”
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