Attorneys in a major race discrimination class action have reached a settlement that would force the national shipping company FedEx Corp. to pay out almost $55 million and overhaul its pay, discipline and promotions practices.

The suit claimed that FedEx Express, a unit that performs overnight deliveries, harbored a culture of hostility toward people of color, allowing racial bias to infect its human resources decisions. If approved, the settlement would benefit some 20,000 hourly employees and low-level operations managers who have worked in the company’s western regional facilities since October 1999.

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