“We wanted to send a message,” a jury foreman told reporters in the wake of a recently rendered verdict in an employment-linked matter.
A mere three hours of deliberation were all that was required in one state recently for a verdict to be delivered in an employment discrimination/retaliation case.
The outcome: a notably high damage award for an ex-police officer who submitted evidence at trial of workplace-linked discrimination meted out to him based on his sexual orientation.
The jury spokesman stressed that the millions of dollars awarded in the case followed from a simple rationale, namely, that employers engaging in discriminatory conduct against workers “are going to pay a big price.”
The defendants certainly will. The former sergeant was awarded nearly $20 million in the case, including punitive damages of $10 million and $7 million on the discrimination and retaliation allegations, respectively.
Notwithstanding that the plaintiff commanded many years of experience on the police force, he was reportedly turned down for promotion nearly two dozen times. Trial evidence indicated that he was told by a member of the police commission that he would never rise in the ranks because he was openly gay. That individual reportedly told the sergeant to “tone down your gayness.”
The plaintiff’s frustration with repeated promotion failures eventually led him to file a discrimination complaint with both state and federal authorities. He was transferred quickly thereafter to a new position further from his home and assigned to overnight work.
The local police union states that it is “extremely embarrassed” by the matter and now looks forward to a “healing process.”
Workplace discrimination and related retaliation against an employee is obviously a matter of utmost gravity. Strong remedies against such misconduct are available under both federal and state laws. Further information can be provided by proven legal counsel at an established employment law firm.