Workplace discrimination remains more common then many people may think, but it is possible and important to hold employers accountable for these unlawful actions. Discrimination can take many forms and can include things like make racist or derogatory comments, treating employees of a certain class differently then other employees, to more outright discrimination such as passing someone over for a promotion or failing to give someone a raise because of their race, gender, age or other protected classification.
In a recent case out of Michigan, a former engineer for Ford brought, and won, a lawsuit based on workplace discrimination. This engineer claimed that the automaker, and particularly two supervisors, created a hostile work environment through discrimination based on the engineer’s Arab background. After an eleven day trial, a jury found in favor of the engineer, determining that he was discriminated against based on his background and accent and that he was retaliated against and ultimately fired after he reported this discrimination.
The jury heard evidence of discriminatory acts of supervisors who would belittle and criticize and scream at the engineer about his accent, and further that they would assign him to demeaning positions below his qualifications and would provide him with unrealistic work goals and expectation. After making complaints and going to directly to Human Resources with his grievances the engineer was then demoted by his supervisor. Following this, he was forced into a medical leave and eventually terminated. The jury awarded the engineer $15 million dollars in punitive damages, as well as $1.7 million in retirement and pension losses and $100,000 for emotional distress.
If you have been subjected to workplace discrimination or retaliation for filing a complaint about discrimination, it is essential to consult with an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your options and potential remedies.
Source: Detroit Free Press, Ex-Ford engineer who was belittled, criticized wins $16.8M lawsuit, Allie