Pay how much for retaliation? Try $366 million.

Employees frequently sue for retaliation if they experience backlash after complaining about race discrimination at work. If the employee is punished with a pay cut, demotion, transfer to a less desirable location or termination, employers can expect a retaliation lawsuit.

In cases like that, employees don't even have to prove they experienced discrimination. They just have to prove they were punished for complaining. Those lawsuits may result in jaw-dropping damage awards.

Recent case: Jennifer, who is Black, worked her way up at FedEx, starting as an entry-level salesperson and eventually becoming a district sales manager. Then she ran into problems with her supervisor, who asked Jennifer to take a demotion. She complained to HR that she was being discriminated against for being a Black woman.

Soon after, Jennifer received a letter of reprimand for alleged poor performance, including failing to meet revenue targets. She again complained. During a subsequent meeting, she learned her revenue performance, although falling, was still higher than at least one of her white peers. FedEx eventually fired Jennifer for poor performance.

She sued, alleging race discrimination and retaliation under two federal laws. The first, Section 1981...

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