U.S. Supreme Court to take FedEx discrimination case

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court said Monday that it will consider whether an age discrimination lawsuit against FedEx Corp. can proceed.

At issue is whether a group of 14 FedEx employees, led by Patricia Kennedy and Paul Holowecki, followed proper procedures in suing FedEx for age discrimination.

The Memphis, Tenn.-based company is arguing that the suit should be dismissed because Kennedy did not file a formal charge alleging age discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission until after she sued FedEx.

The other employees joined Kennedy's complaint. Federal law requires plaintiffs to file a complaint with the EEOC and wait 60 days before they sue an employer, FedEx says.

The law is intended to give the EEOC the opportunity to notify the company accused of discrimination, investigate the charges and seek to resolve them before a suit is filed, the company said.

The plaintiffs respond that a form Kennedy filed with the EEOC in December 2001 included the information necessary to comply with that law and that the suit she and her colleagues filed in April 2002 should be allowed to proceed.

A district court dismissed the case, but the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New York City, ruled in March 2006 that the case should be allowed to proceed.

The court found that the EEOC's failure to follow through on Kennedy's complaint and notify FedEx should not preclude the plaintiffs' right to sue.

The justices won't hear arguments in the dispute until the Supreme Court's next term, which begins in October. FedEx shares fell 37 cents to $110.92 Monday. The case is Federal Express Corp. v. Paul Holowecki, et al. 06-1322.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)