Seattle Jury Clears Boeing in Racial Lawsuit

Reuters, Dec. 21, 2005

SEATTLE—A federal jury Wednesday cleared Boeing Co. in a lawsuit brought by 4,000 black salaried employees who claimed they were passed over for promotions because of racial discrimination.

The jury deliberated about a day before reaching the unanimous verdict, which cleared Boeing of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“I respect the jury,” said Craig Spiegel, lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “We’ll just have to reflect on it (the verdict), and see what, if any steps to take at this point, if there are any grounds for an appeal.”

The lawsuit, which went to trial earlier this month in Seattle federal court, centered on the treatment of some 4,000 salaried workers across the United States and on whether the company followed federal affirmative action guidelines for government contractors.

“The company felt strongly that its promotion processes are fair, and we are very pleased that the jury agreed,” said Peter Conte, a spokesman for Boeing, which has its corporate headquarters in Chicago but maintains its commercial jet production in Seattle.

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