Jury Rules EGL, Inc. Did Not Discriminate in Oklahoma-Based EEOC Lawsuit

Apr 02, 2001, 01:00 ET from EGL, Inc.

    HOUSTON, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- EGL, Inc. (Nasdaq: EAGL) today announced
 that a jury in Oklahoma City unanimously found on March 29, 2001, that EGL,
 Inc. was not liable for racial discrimination, racial harassment and
 retaliation.  The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Oklahoma City by the
 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a former EGL
 employee, Jimmie Lewis.  Following the jury's refusal to find any liability or
 award damages, the EEOC withdrew its demand for injunctive relief.
     "EGL has been vindicated by the jury's decision in the Oklahoma case,"
 said EGL lead attorney, Nancy L. Patterson, following the verdict.  "The
 jury's finding in the Lewis matter established that the EEOC's determination
 in the Oklahoma case clearly was wrong.  We are pleased that the jury in
 Oklahoma City acknowledged that EGL's conduct in that case was free of
 harassment or discrimination."
     The lawsuit in Oklahoma is separate from a case pending in Houston between
 EGL and the EEOC.  The EEOC's Houston Office and Regional Attorney James
 Sacher have been responsible for directing a three-year investigation of EGL
 based on a Commissioner's Charge of Discrimination issued in December 1997.
 Only one month after issuing the determination finding EGL liable in the Lewis
 matter, Mr. Sacher also authored a scathing determination finding EGL to have
 engaged in widespread discriminatory practices throughout the company.
     The EEOC's conduct surrounding the investigation of the Commissioner's
 Charge and the issuance of the adverse determination against EGL has been the
 subject of ongoing litigation between EGL and the EEOC.  EGL currently has a
 lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Houston taking exception to the
 EEOC's conduct, and particularly that of Sacher and the Houston Office, as
 arbitrary, capricious and biased.  Although that case is still pending in
 Houston, the Judge presiding over the matter has already stated that there has
 been an "abundance of agency misconduct" by the EEOC.  Although neither the
 Commissioner's Charge nor related litigation is affected by the finding in the
 Oklahoma case, the company is gratified that a jury has now taken issue with
 the EEOC's actions against EGL.
     "The company has been under siege by the EEOC for more than three years
 now," said Patterson.  "In the Commissioner's Charge, the agency has made
 spurious allegations, engaged in questionable tactics and maliciously targeted
 EGL because the company has chosen to aggressively defend itself rather than
 surrender to allegations it knows to be untrue."
     The EEOC's adverse determination in the Commissioner's Charge matter led
 to the filing of a federal lawsuit in Philadelphia in May 2000 by three former
 EGL employees and an unsuccessful applicant alleging discrimination on the
 basis of race, national origin and gender, as well as sexual harassment.  The
 plaintiffs in that lawsuit are seeking to represent a class of current and
 former employees and applicants.  In July 2000, an additional four plaintiffs
 were allowed to join the lawsuit.  In November 2000, the Philadelphia court
 preliminarily denied the plaintiffs' request for class certification.  The
 EEOC subsequently made a request for permission to intervene in the matter,
 which was granted by the court in late January 2001. At the same time, the
 Philadelphia court granted EGL's request that the lawsuit be transferred to
 the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in
 Houston, Texas.  The case is scheduled to go to court in October, 2001.
     Jimmie Lewis started with EGL in August 1997.  He was later terminated in
 April 1998.  Lewis alleged that he had been harassed and subjected to a
 racially hostile work environment by his supervisor.  Lewis further claimed
 that his termination was motivated by his race and was in retaliation for his
 complaints to his managers.
     Several weeks following his termination, Lewis filed a Charge of
 Discrimination with the Oklahoma City office of the EEOC.  Although Lewis was
 no longer employed, EGL followed its policies and initiated a prompt
 investigation of his complaints.  EGL's investigation revealed that there had
 been no harassment and that Lewis' termination was justified.
     EGL denied Lewis' claims that he had been harassed based on his race.  EGL
 further denied that Lewis had ever complained of discrimination prior to his
 termination.  The Charge was the first notice to EGL that Lewis had any
 complaints of racial discrimination.  EGL also denied that Lewis' race had
 anything to do with his termination.  EGL asserted that Lewis was terminated
 after he refused to perform certain job duties.
     Approximately 14 months after the Charge of Discrimination was filed, the
 EEOC begin its investigation of Lewis' complaints.  The investigation was
 directed by the EEOC's Houston Regional Attorney James Sacher.  In March 2000,
 the Houston EEOC issued a determination finding that Lewis had been racially
 harassed and that his termination was in retaliation for complaints of racial
 harassment.  The EEOC demanded that Lewis be reinstated with full back pay and
 that he be compensated in the amount of $225,000 in compensatory and punitive
 damages.  The EEOC also demanded that EGL implement policies and training
 programs to prohibit discrimination.  EGL rejected the EEOC's demand and the
 Oklahoma City lawsuit followed.
     During the trial before Chief Judge David Russell, EGL presented the jury
 with evidence regarding its longstanding policies that strictly prohibit
 discrimination and harassment based on race.  EGL also presented evidence of
 its training program, which trains managers on the policy against
 discrimination and harassment.
     Houston-based EGL, Inc. operates under the name EGL Eagle Global
 Logistics.  EGL is a leading global transportation, supply chain management
 and information services company dedicated to providing superior flexibility
 and fewer shipping restrictions on a price competitive basis.  Its network of
 almost 400 terminals in 100 countries features state-of-the-art information
 systems designed to maximize cargo management efficiency and customer
 satisfaction.  With 2000 revenues exceeding $1.8 billion, EGL's services
 include air and ocean freight forwarding, customs brokerage, local pickup and
 delivery service, materials management, warehousing, trade facilitation and
 procurement, and integrated logistics and supply chain management services.
 The company's shares are traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol
 "EAGL".
 
     FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
     To the extent that the statements in this press release regarding Oklahoma
 EEOC litigation, the Commissioner's Charge including the effects thereof, and
 any other statements, are not historical facts, they are forward looking
 statements.  Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, but
 not limited to, outcome of litigation, actions by regulatory authorities,
 general economic conditions, ability to manage and continue growth, risks of
 international operations, and other factors detailed in the company's 12/31/00
 Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
 Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should
 underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual outcomes may vary materially
 from those indicated.
 
     For more information about Eagle:
     Contact Eagle Investor Relations via the Internet at hfedele@eaglegl.com
 or by telephone at 281/618-3467, Heather Fedele, Investor Relations Manager.
 
 

SOURCE EGL, Inc.
    HOUSTON, April 2 /PRNewswire/ -- EGL, Inc. (Nasdaq: EAGL) today announced
 that a jury in Oklahoma City unanimously found on March 29, 2001, that EGL,
 Inc. was not liable for racial discrimination, racial harassment and
 retaliation.  The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Oklahoma City by the
 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a former EGL
 employee, Jimmie Lewis.  Following the jury's refusal to find any liability or
 award damages, the EEOC withdrew its demand for injunctive relief.
     "EGL has been vindicated by the jury's decision in the Oklahoma case,"
 said EGL lead attorney, Nancy L. Patterson, following the verdict.  "The
 jury's finding in the Lewis matter established that the EEOC's determination
 in the Oklahoma case clearly was wrong.  We are pleased that the jury in
 Oklahoma City acknowledged that EGL's conduct in that case was free of
 harassment or discrimination."
     The lawsuit in Oklahoma is separate from a case pending in Houston between
 EGL and the EEOC.  The EEOC's Houston Office and Regional Attorney James
 Sacher have been responsible for directing a three-year investigation of EGL
 based on a Commissioner's Charge of Discrimination issued in December 1997.
 Only one month after issuing the determination finding EGL liable in the Lewis
 matter, Mr. Sacher also authored a scathing determination finding EGL to have
 engaged in widespread discriminatory practices throughout the company.
     The EEOC's conduct surrounding the investigation of the Commissioner's
 Charge and the issuance of the adverse determination against EGL has been the
 subject of ongoing litigation between EGL and the EEOC.  EGL currently has a
 lawsuit pending in U.S. District Court in Houston taking exception to the
 EEOC's conduct, and particularly that of Sacher and the Houston Office, as
 arbitrary, capricious and biased.  Although that case is still pending in
 Houston, the Judge presiding over the matter has already stated that there has
 been an "abundance of agency misconduct" by the EEOC.  Although neither the
 Commissioner's Charge nor related litigation is affected by the finding in the
 Oklahoma case, the company is gratified that a jury has now taken issue with
 the EEOC's actions against EGL.
     "The company has been under siege by the EEOC for more than three years
 now," said Patterson.  "In the Commissioner's Charge, the agency has made
 spurious allegations, engaged in questionable tactics and maliciously targeted
 EGL because the company has chosen to aggressively defend itself rather than
 surrender to allegations it knows to be untrue."
     The EEOC's adverse determination in the Commissioner's Charge matter led
 to the filing of a federal lawsuit in Philadelphia in May 2000 by three former
 EGL employees and an unsuccessful applicant alleging discrimination on the
 basis of race, national origin and gender, as well as sexual harassment.  The
 plaintiffs in that lawsuit are seeking to represent a class of current and
 former employees and applicants.  In July 2000, an additional four plaintiffs
 were allowed to join the lawsuit.  In November 2000, the Philadelphia court
 preliminarily denied the plaintiffs' request for class certification.  The
 EEOC subsequently made a request for permission to intervene in the matter,
 which was granted by the court in late January 2001. At the same time, the
 Philadelphia court granted EGL's request that the lawsuit be transferred to
 the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in
 Houston, Texas.  The case is scheduled to go to court in October, 2001.
     Jimmie Lewis started with EGL in August 1997.  He was later terminated in
 April 1998.  Lewis alleged that he had been harassed and subjected to a
 racially hostile work environment by his supervisor.  Lewis further claimed
 that his termination was motivated by his race and was in retaliation for his
 complaints to his managers.
     Several weeks following his termination, Lewis filed a Charge of
 Discrimination with the Oklahoma City office of the EEOC.  Although Lewis was
 no longer employed, EGL followed its policies and initiated a prompt
 investigation of his complaints.  EGL's investigation revealed that there had
 been no harassment and that Lewis' termination was justified.
     EGL denied Lewis' claims that he had been harassed based on his race.  EGL
 further denied that Lewis had ever complained of discrimination prior to his
 termination.  The Charge was the first notice to EGL that Lewis had any
 complaints of racial discrimination.  EGL also denied that Lewis' race had
 anything to do with his termination.  EGL asserted that Lewis was terminated
 after he refused to perform certain job duties.
     Approximately 14 months after the Charge of Discrimination was filed, the
 EEOC begin its investigation of Lewis' complaints.  The investigation was
 directed by the EEOC's Houston Regional Attorney James Sacher.  In March 2000,
 the Houston EEOC issued a determination finding that Lewis had been racially
 harassed and that his termination was in retaliation for complaints of racial
 harassment.  The EEOC demanded that Lewis be reinstated with full back pay and
 that he be compensated in the amount of $225,000 in compensatory and punitive
 damages.  The EEOC also demanded that EGL implement policies and training
 programs to prohibit discrimination.  EGL rejected the EEOC's demand and the
 Oklahoma City lawsuit followed.
     During the trial before Chief Judge David Russell, EGL presented the jury
 with evidence regarding its longstanding policies that strictly prohibit
 discrimination and harassment based on race.  EGL also presented evidence of
 its training program, which trains managers on the policy against
 discrimination and harassment.
     Houston-based EGL, Inc. operates under the name EGL Eagle Global
 Logistics.  EGL is a leading global transportation, supply chain management
 and information services company dedicated to providing superior flexibility
 and fewer shipping restrictions on a price competitive basis.  Its network of
 almost 400 terminals in 100 countries features state-of-the-art information
 systems designed to maximize cargo management efficiency and customer
 satisfaction.  With 2000 revenues exceeding $1.8 billion, EGL's services
 include air and ocean freight forwarding, customs brokerage, local pickup and
 delivery service, materials management, warehousing, trade facilitation and
 procurement, and integrated logistics and supply chain management services.
 The company's shares are traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol
 "EAGL".
 
     FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
     To the extent that the statements in this press release regarding Oklahoma
 EEOC litigation, the Commissioner's Charge including the effects thereof, and
 any other statements, are not historical facts, they are forward looking
 statements.  Such statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, but
 not limited to, outcome of litigation, actions by regulatory authorities,
 general economic conditions, ability to manage and continue growth, risks of
 international operations, and other factors detailed in the company's 12/31/00
 Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
 Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should
 underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual outcomes may vary materially
 from those indicated.
 
     For more information about Eagle:
     Contact Eagle Investor Relations via the Internet at hfedele@eaglegl.com
 or by telephone at 281/618-3467, Heather Fedele, Investor Relations Manager.
 
 SOURCE  EGL, Inc.