Employment Law Verdicts and Settlements

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Work-related injuries and illnesses are among the most common claims made by employees, but employment law gives rise to a variety of other civil claims as well, including breach of contract, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and whistle-blowing claims.

Some claims are relatively small, involving only lost pay for a relatively short period of time, while others reach to multi-million dollar class actions.

If you've suffered from discrimination or harassment in the workplace, you may be able to seek compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Receive a confidential consultation with an attorney near you by completing the quick case review form below.

The employment law verdicts and workplace discrimination settlements below, gathered from news sources in large and small areas across the country, illustrate a range of possible claims and outcomes.*

*Results taken from recent news articles. Results not typical. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

$2,298,000 Million Injury Verdict against Dollar General for Retaliatory Discharge

A jury just awarded a former Dollar General employee $2,298,000 for damages she received after being fired for reporting a work injury.

The former employee hurt her hand on a cash drawer. The wound became infected and her arm had to be amputation. Dollar General denied her worker's compensation claim three days after her arm was amputated.

The woman's personal injury lawyer proved that the company had a policy that fines it managers $7,500 for every employee that reports an injury from their store. The fine comes straight from the manager's yearly bonus.

It took less than three hours for the jury to reach the injury verdict.

A retaliatory discharge claim against an employer is usually allowed when an employee is fired for exercising a right under state law or when the firing of the employee violated public policy.

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TV Writers get $4.5 Million from ICM for Age Discrimination Settlement

Ten thousand television writers ended their class action age discrimination lawsuit against International Creative Management, Inc. (ICM) after settling the first of 23 class actions for $4.5 million and programmatic relief that will enhance work opportunities. Edwards, et al v. International Creative Management, Inc. (ICM), alleged that more than 150 television writers, 40 years and older, were victims of age discrimination by agents who refused to represent and refer older writers for work. ICM has also agreed to establish a task force independent of the company to investigate representation practices and participate in a relief program to promote the top 25 percent of older television writers.

This is one of 12 lawsuits against talent agencies in the TV Writers Age Discrimination Litigation, which began in federal court in 2000 and is made up of 23 class actions in California state court against ABC, CBS, Disney, Fox, NBC Universal, Columbia, Warner Brothers, ICM, Creative Artists, Endeavor, Paradigm, and Wm. Morris. All but one of the cases is before Judge Emile Elias of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

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Justice for Prejudice: $1 Million in Awards Upheld in Discrimination Suit

A California appeals court upheld $1 million in damages and attorney's fees in a discrimination suit filed by Raj Naidu, a California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) engineer. Evidence supported a judge's earlier findings that Naidu was harassed by his 2004 supervisor, Moshen Kazemzadeh, because he was from India.

The supervisor shouted racist remarks at Naidu, threatened to fire him, gave him incorrect instructions to hurt his performance, withdrew his prior approval for telecommunicating, and even kept him from taking bathroom breaks without permission, according to the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

After a 2007 non-jury trial, a judge awarded Naidu $2,100 for economic losses, $545,000 for emotional distress and $499,000 in attorney's fees. The appeals court upheld this decision. Two other employees of Indian descent and a third commission employee also testified that they had experienced or observed ethnic discrimination in the PUC.

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Court Finds Patrolman's Claims of Racial Harassment Justified, but Awards No Damages

The New Jersey Supreme Court reinstated a verdict of harassment made against the Haddonfield Police Department and several of its officers for making anti-Semitic slurs and committing other forms of harassment against a patrolman. While a lower court found in favor of the patrolman's allegations of harassment, the appeals court said that the racial comments amounted to locker-room joking, and found that the case wasn't actionable. This state Supreme Court ruling returns the verdict of harassment, but finds no monetary damages, agreeing with the lower court that there was no basis for the patrolman's claims that the harassment delayed a promotion.

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$1.2 million Awarded to Teachers in Age Discrimination Suit

A federal jury awarded $1.2 million to a group of teachers who filed a lawsuit against the Elizabeth Forward School District in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania claiming they were discriminated against because of their ages. Their lawsuit claimed that they were hired at the district's lowest pay grade despite teaching experience, while younger teachers were hired at higher salaries. The jury also found that the discrimination was "willful," which could potentially double the portion of the award that compensates the teachers for unearned back pay.

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$19,000 to immigrant workers for unpaid overtime

Seven Wisconsin employees of Hispanic descent who worked for the construction company Builders Insulation of Germantown reached a settlement of nearly $19,000 each in missing overtime pay which they sued the company for in a federal court. The company alleged that the employees were not entitled to overtime pay because they performed work on a part-time basis and that the lawsuit was improperly initiated. In a noteworthy ruling, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled that the workers' immigration status be excluded from the case.

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$65,000 to Bus Drivers for Unpaid Overtime

The Garland School District in Dallas, Texas settled a lawsuit with several of its school bus drivers over disputes regarding overtime. The drivers alleged in their suit that time spent preparing and cleaning buses as well as driving for special trips were not counted in their wages. In total, 30 drivers were awarded $65,000 in back wages and overtime. A similar suit was settled in 2005 concerning 36 drivers, who settled for $149,000.

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$130,000 for Wrongful Termination over Gossip

Two former employees of the town of Hooksett, New Hampshire settled a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city for being fired for gossiping about the town administrator. Four women in all were fired for spreading an unfounded rumor about an affair between the administrator and another married, town employee. The women had stellar performance records adding up to a total of 50 years. The town agreed to use an insurance policy to pay two of the women $130,000 for the illegal firing, paying for lost wages, compensatory damages and attorneys' fees. Also, the settlement included terms that let the women resign from their jobs and remove termination from their employee records.

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$505,000 to Four McDonald's Employees for Sexual Harassment

Four former workers settled with McDonald's over a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment while on the job. The four women, teenagers at the time of the alleged incidents, claimed that a 24-year-old manager inappropriately touched them, biting their breasts and grabbing their buttocks. Criminal charges were not filed at the time, for fear of retaliation. The settlement includes $505,000 compensation, in addition to letters of apology by the franchise owner.

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Starbucks baristas win $100 million in class-action over tips

Starbucks baristas have been in the news a lot lately, with the three-hour-long closures for barista training making national news in early March 2008. Now baristas have won a jury verdict worth $100 million in a class-action lawsuit filed over a dispute over tips. The company previously split tip earnings with shift supervisors; the lawsuit claimed that the company was essentially subsidizing supervisor wages at the cost of lower-wage employees, and the San Diego County judge ruling on the case agreed. Based on the distribution of tip money according to number of hours worked, some Starbucks employees could receive as much as $10,000, according to news reports.

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$20,000 to police officer in alleged "cuckold" marriage

A former police officer for the city of Pueblo, Colorado and his wife brought a lawsuit against the city claiming that the husband was fired because of the couple's unusual "cuckold" marriage relationship, in which the wife is allowed to explore sexual relations with whomever she pleases while he is not. The city, however, denied that knowledge of this situation was the cause of the husband's termination, but rather from actions while on duty. He was charged with witness tampering and official misconduct after he tried to convince another man not to testify in a case because it might result in a videotape shown in the court room of his wife having sex with the other man. In reaching the $20,000 settlement with the couple, the city denied its liability and stated that it chose to settle to avoid litigation costs.

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$41,000 Settlement with Teacher over Discrimination over Bisexual Orientation

A former teacher reached a settlement of $41,000 with the Ravenswood City School District after he was allegedly discriminated against for his bisexuality. The teacher, who was new during the 2004-2005 school year, was interrogated by boys in his class over his sexuality after he admonished them not to use derogatory terms for homosexual men. When he admitted that he was previously involved in homosexual relationships, though now married, the news spread through the school and school officials intervened after parents called to complain. He was eventually forced to resign. The settlement amount is equal to one year of the teacher's salary.

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$1.17 Million to Pasadena Firefighter for Racial Discrimination

A recent lawsuit filed by Carter Stephens, a former firefighter for the city of Pasadena, alleging that he was forced into retirement after complaints over racial harassment at his job, was resolved by the city for $1.17 million. According to his lawsuit, Stephens faced racial discrimination such as a swastika drawn on his equipment and references to the "N" word, as well as fellow firefighters leaving blood, urine, and feces in his bedding. Stephens complained routinely about these incidents, but no action was taken, and Stephens' suit alleges that his retirement was forced by the inaction.

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$60,000 Settlement For Wrongful Termination

LaVerne Davis sued the Beaufort County School District in South Carolina, claiming that the district wrongfully removed her as the principal of St. Helena Elementary School in 2004. The school district agreed to pay Davis a $60,000 settlement in a deal that required both parties to keep the terms of the settlement confidential. In exchange for the settlement, Davis was required to drop all legal claims against the school district and former superintendent Herman Gaither. Gaither had allegedly recommended in March of 2004 that Davis' contract not be renewed. The agreement also required that the school district keep all documents in Davis' personnel file confidential. The state's chief law officer said that it was illegal to keep such agreements secret, so the details of the settlement agreement were released to the public.

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$39,000 Settlement for Wrongful Termination

In Davidsville, Pennsylvania, former Conemaugh Township Police Chief Howard Johnson sued the township because he said that he was wrongfully terminated. Before he filed his lawsuit, records indicate that grievances were filed by the Fraternal Order of Police and a discrimination complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The township agreed to a settlement with Johnson in which he would give up his job with the township police force and be paid a patrolman's salary of $39,000 and medical benefits for one year. Johnson's lawsuit began after he was suspended with pay after complaints were lodged accusing him of conduct unbecoming an officer and neglect of duty.

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Mechanic Receives $900,000 Settlement

In New Jersey, a jury found that mechanic Joseph Martelle was 50 percent liable for the injuries he received in 2000 when two of his fingers were partially severed. The injury occurred while Martelle was sawing Plexiglas® while installing air conditioning at a New York high school. After the jury reached their verdict, Martelle and his personal injury lawyer settled Martelle's lawsuit against the City of New York as the owner of the high school and the former Board of Education as the City's agent. The settlement agreement, in which Martelle will receive $900,000 for his injuries, made the damages phase of the personal injury trial unnecessary. Martelle's fingers were successfully reattached after the accident, but he has not returned to work since the accident.

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Survival School Death Settlement

Ironically, Dave Buschow died from dehydration in 2006 at Boulder Outdoor Survival School. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the wilderness survival facility alleging negligence after Buschow died during a grueling course in southern Utah. As part of the terms of the settlement, Boulder Outdoor Survival School will create an annual scholarship in Dave Buschow's name for people who want to attend the course. There was also said to be a cash settlement amount, but the details were kept confidential.

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University of Louisiana Football Coach Awarded $2 Million for Race Discrimination

Jerry Baldwin, former head football coach for the University of Louisiana, received a jury verdict of $2 million in a lawsuit against the university claiming that he was wrongly relieved of his duties as coach because he is African-American. Baldwin coached the University of Louisiana football team from 1999 to 2001, when he was fired for poor performance, university officials claim. Although jurors found that race wasn't the only factor, the Baton Rouge jury awarded Baldwin compensation for breach of contract and emotional distress. Baldwin's record as coach of the Ragin' Cajuns was 6-27.

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Hair Salon Pays $20,000 to Settle Religious Discrimination Lawsuit

Rebecca Spain, through the help of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), reached a $20,000 settlement with SmartStyle Family Hair Salon, alleging that the salon religiously discriminated her. Spain alleged in the suit that SmartStyle failed to accommodate her religious practices by denying her request to come to work after noon on Sundays so that she could attend church services. The EEOC stated that the salon violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for this failure.

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Missouri State Employee Settles Sex Harassment Suit for $70,000

Heather Elder, an employee at the Missouri state Department of Agriculture, settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against department director Fred Ferrell for $70,000. The lawsuit claimed that Ferrell touched Elder inappropriately, kissed her near her mouth, and made numerous offensive comments, including that he wanted to see her in a wet T-shirt contest. Elder claimed that she was forced out of her job for reacting to the advances; the Department of Agriculture sued her for breaking a settlement, resulting in her countersuit alleging sexual harassment. Ferrell has been fined and ordered to undergo sensitivity training.

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California Man Settles with City for $30,000 for False Allegations of Embezzlement

The city of Auburn, California, reached a $30,000 settlement with a former technology manager for an allegation of embezzlement that could not stand up to trial. Ernest Shih, who is a reserve police officer for the city, was also accused of illegal possession of a firearm and planting listening devices in the offices of colleagues, allegations which he claims have hurt his chances of finding new employment because they make him sound like "a terrorist," he claims. Police could not bring enough evidence to follow through with the embezzlement charges, and threw out the illegal firearm charge since he carries it as a reserve officer.

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$350,000 Settlement in Class Action Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Amy Wiginton and four other women received a total of $350,000 in settlements as part of a class action lawsuit against real estate broker Richard Ellis for sexual harassment throughout its nationwide branches. Wiginton alleged in the suit that she was subjected to lewd remarks, unwanted groping and sexual propositions by male co-workers. Other allegations include one that pornographic material was distributed via e-mail and displayed on office computers. Of the amount agreed upon, Wiginton will receive $125,000 and the four others will share $225,000. Others may join the class action suit and receive three levels of compensation based on whether they choose to remain anonymous and whether they simply file papers or go through a full arbitration hearing with witnesses.

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$15,000 Settlement for Racial Discrimination in Termination

A York, South Carolina woman received a $15,000 settlement from Eagle Alloys, a wheel manufacturer, for racial discrimination in retaliation against her. Angelita Sanchez filed the claim with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claiming that she was wrongfully terminated after complaining of a supervisor referring to her with a racial slur. In addition to the financial damages paid to Sanchez, the settlement requires the company to provide yearly training for managers, supervisors and employees about discrimination and unlawful retaliation.

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Kentucky Social Worker Settles for $380,000 for Wrongful Firing

Pat Moore, a resident of Elsmere, Kentucky and former social worker, reached a $380,000 settlement with the state of Kentucky over a lawsuit in which she claimed that supervisors fired her over failing to arrange an adoption in time for the state to qualify for federal funds. Moore claims that when she discovered abuse allegations and criminal records for authority figures in a certain foster home and tried to halt the adoption, she was inappropriately fired. Moore's settlement comes on the heels of other allegations concerning inappropriate handling of adoptions and foster care.

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$1.15 Million Given to Butler for Employer Sexual Advances, Termination

A man who worked as a personal butler for the president of Smithfield's Chicken 'n Bar-B-Q received a jury verdict of $1.15 million for sexual harassment he encountered from his employer while on the job. Jason Hallaman, 39, claimed in his suit that Gregory Moore, 51, made sexual advances towards him, then wrongfully terminated him and maliciously prosecuted him over alleged forged checks. Moore denied the charges, suggesting that Hallaman was just trying to get his money, and actually formally requested that the jury make Hallaman pay $32,000 for stealing furniture.

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Knicks Pay $11.6 Million for Coach Isiah Thomas' Sexual Harassment of Female Employee

A federal jury in New York city has found Isiah Thomas, Madison Square Garden, and its chairman, James Dolan, guilty of sexual harassment and creating a hostile working environment in a discrimination lawsuit filed by former MSG employee Anucha Browne Sanders. As a result, Browne Sanders will receive $11.6 million in punitive damages. In the lawsuit, Browne Sanders alleges that Thomas, the head coach of the New York Knicks professional basketball team, sexually harassed her and that she was fired from the corporation for complaining about Thomas' unwelcome advances. The jury awarded Browne Sanders $6 million for the hostile working environment created at MSG and $5.6 million for the unlawful firing. Dolan is responsible for $3 million of the total, and MSG with the rest. Though the jury found in favor of Browne Sanders, Thomas was not found liable for punitive damages himself.

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Longshoreman Receives $13.2 Million Settlement for Equipment Crash Injuries

A South Carolina longshoreman named Michael Clarkin received one of the largest personal injury settlements in state history when three companies agreed to pay $13.2 million for an equipment malfunction that caused an empty shipping container to fall on Clarkin's SUV while Clarkin was in the driver's seat. Clarkin sustained injuries to his legs, back and neurological system. The mental problems did not allow Clarkin to attend the court hearings, since it left him prone to angry outbursts. This condition, coupled with the high pay due to longshoremen, accounted for the high amount of the settlement, lawyers believe.

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City Worker Awarded $132K for Civil Discrimination from Secondhand Smoke

A maintenance director for the city of Waltham, Massachusetts was awarded $132,000 for civil discrimination when the city housing agency where he worked failed to provide him with a smoke-free working environment. Ralph Jerauld was diagnosed twice with lung cancer, and repeatedly requested that other employees, including the agency's executive director, not smoke in his presence and provide other measures to prevent secondhand smoke from worsening his condition. However, his suit claimed that not only did fellow employees not avoid smoking near him, but he began to experience "retaliatory" actions from supervisors for his requests. The jury found in favor of his discrimination claim but did not rule that the actions against him were "retaliatory."

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Sprint Reaches Settlement of $57 million in Age Discrimination Class-Action

A federal judge in Kansas City has given final approval to a $57 million settlement of an employment discrimination class action lawsuit against Sprint. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2003 and claims that Sprint illegally moved employees older than 40 years of age to positions that were then eliminated as part of the company's efforts to cut costs. Additionally, the lawsuit claims that Sprint used a computerized performance management system that unfairly singled out employees over 40 for termination. The suit covered a total number of 1,697 employees, meaning that after legal fees of approximately $20 million, the award will grant an average of $20,000 to each plaintiff. Previously, Sprint had settled for $5.5 million in a similar age discrimination lawsuit filed in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Qwest Ordered to Pay $39 Million for Negligence in Employee Fall

A Qwest Communications employee was awarded $39 million for a fall he sustained while working on a telephone pole that left him paralyzed. Andy Blood, then 24, was removing cross-arms on a telephone pole in his hometown of Denver, Colorado, when the pole snapped near the base, dropping him 25 feet and leaving him instantly paralyzed. The jury ruled that Qwest was negligent in the case, and awarded $21 million in compensatory damages and $18 million in punitive damages. The verdict was the largest ever in the state of Colorado for a personal injury case.

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Indianapolis Settles Fire Captain Gender Discrimination for $350,000

The city of Indianapolis has agreed to a settlement of $350,000 with Capt. Ruth M. Morrison of the city fire department for gender discrimination. A twenty-one-year veteran of the department, Captain Morrison was allegedly the victim of taunting and other poor treatment by the male crew members, as well as being unfairly disciplined and wrongly passed over for promotions. In one incident, Morrison was formally reprimanded for reports of missing equipment in her division and therefore ineligible for an upcoming promotion; it turned out that the report was fabricated. The city has also stated that in addition to the settlement, disciplinary actions will be taken against those who were responsible for the discrimination.

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$150,000 Granted in Reverse Discrimination Case

A former New York state employee recently won a rare reverse discrimination case against his boss in a Buffalo federal court. Mark Pasternak, who was dismissed from a position in the state Office of Children and Family Services in 1999, was awarded $150,000 from Tommy E. Baines for racial discrimination and subjection to working in a hostile environment. According to Pasternak's testimony, Baines, an African-American, frequently referred to Pasternak with racist names such as "cracker," "Pollack" and "stupid white boy." Baines also reportedly performed job sabotage activities like secretly removing documents from Pasternak's desk and changing locks on file cabinets and doors without telling Pasternak. Pasternak did file formal complaint in 1998, and an internal investigation was carried out, but Baines was not fired and was only hit for a $2,000 fine. The state also offered Pasternak a new position, but could not guarantee that Baines would not be his supervisor. Pasternak also attempted to sue the state of New York, but a judge dismissed the state suit, deeming that the fine and offer a new position was enough to correct the problems.

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$1.5 Million Awarded in State Employee Firing

Former Texas state employee Linette Weller received an award from the Texas Department for Criminal Justice that amounted to $1.5 million for firing her when she sought reasonable accommodation for an illness in 2001. The department installed an aerosol room deodorant in the office where Weller worked, which exacerbated her chronic asthma and put her in the hospital. Despite Weller's repeated attempts to get the department to remove the aerosol devices for her personal health, the department continued installing the deodorant devices and then fired her for her attempts to prevent their use in the office.

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$1.5 Million Verdict Upheld in NYPD Discrimination Case

A New York city judge upheld a verdict from last year that awarded Sergeant Robert Sorrenti of the New York Police Department $1.5 million after being denied an opportunity in the Youth Services Section of the Office of Community Affairs because a supervisor thought that Sorrenti was a homosexual and therefore should not be dealing with minors. Despite the fact that Sorrenti does not identify as a homosexual man, the judge did not treat Sorrenti's claim differently, and concluded that Inspector James Hall was guilty of discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation, which amounts to the same issue. The judge also upheld the verdict that two other officers who stood up for Sorrenti in the department were mistreated by Hall after the incident and unjustly moved to dead-end jobs in the department.

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Bruce Willis/Demi Moore Pilot Receives $53.8 Million for Age Discrimination

Former private jet pilot Doyle D. Baker, who served as the chief pilot for the private jet that Bruce Willis and Demi Moore for themselves, received a jury verdict award totaling $53.8 million for wrongful termination of employment by his employer, PrivatAir, Inc. In a letter written by several younger pilots who worked for PrivatAir, the company contracted to manage the private jet owned by the celebrity couple, Captain Baker was maliciously portrayed as too old and feeble-minded to adequately perform his job. Other pilots cited several fabricated examples to induce the company, as well as Moore and Willis, to fire the 63-year-old pilot. A jury found that PrivatAir terminated Captain Baker using age as a motivating factor, based on evidence produced at the trial suggesting that the intention of the conspiracy was to fill Baker's position with a younger pilot who was involved in writing the malicious letter.

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$3 Million Verdict Upheld for Malicious Prosecution Involving Employer

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $3 million judgment for Lisa Day's suit against her employer, Ingles Market Inc. Ingles filed a police complaint against Day for an alleged theft at the store in May 1999. Police originally found no basis for the charge but the defendant pursued the case by submitting false and fraudulent information. Day was subsequently arrested and falsely imprisoned. At the trial in 2000, Day was found not guilty but attorneys for Ingles Market appealed the verdict. The Judge from the court of appeals affirmed the original courts decision after a 3-0 vote.

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$30,000 Settlement Accepted By Female Officer for Workplace Discrimination

Officer Kelly Meek sued the Red Bluff, California Police and City for sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Meek was pretty much the only female working on the force for most of her five-year tenure and asked for a separate locker room from the men. The managers gave her an old house without heat or water located behind the station. She also claimed the force fired her for making demands for better conditions. The city settled with Meek for $30,000.

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$12 Million Settlement Pending In Chicago Political Patronage Hiring Case

An attorney who has fought for 40 years against Chicago City Hall for its political patronage hiring practices may finally win his case. A judge gave preliminary approval for a $12 million settlement with Chicago city hall for discriminatory hiring practices occurring since 2000. The attorney fighting this case, Michael Shakman, alleged the city of Chicago has had a practice of hiring individuals based on their political clout. Shakman has actually been pursuing this case since 1969. Currently there are 400 complaints and 175 are currently under investigation. It is unknown at this point exactly how many people will submit claims for the settlement. The maximum payout per individual is capped at $100,000 per the settlement terms.

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$1.9 Million Jury Award For Breach Of Lifetime Job Guarantee

James Goodreau, the former security chief of HealthSouth Corporation sued for wrongful termination after he was fired from his job in 2003. Goodreau began work at HealthSouth as a security consultant in 1995. At the time, he was still employed as an Alabama state trooper. He joined the clinic operating company the next year with the understanding the job was guaranteed to him for life. Goodwin was fired along with his boss Richard Scrushy. Scrushy was found guilty of bribing the Alabama Governor. The jury awarded Goodreau $1.9 million for wrongful termination. The amount was calculated base on 18 years salary at $103,000 annually.

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$660,000 Awarded To Employee for Improper Demotion

A New Jersey jury found that the Department of Public Works in Brigantine, New Jersey improperly demoted William Lakes after he turned in co-workers for shooting pigeons and awarded him $660,000. The situation was brought forward when a radio station asked for anyone to come forward with information about the pigeon shootings. After Lakes told his supervisors, he was harassed by co-workers and then demoted.

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$250,000 Won By Cop In Discrimination Lawsuit

The City of Inkster, Michigan was ordered to pay command officer Tom Diaz $250,000 for discrimination. Diaz applied for the job of chief of police in 2003, commander in 2004 and deputy chief in 2006 but was denied a promotion in all three instances. The jury's verdict affirmed the plaintiffs claim that the city had illegally used race as the determining factor when it hired black applicants instead of Diaz for the chief and deputy chief positions. City Manager Robert Gorden admitted race was a key factor in the choice of a chief.

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Wal-Mart to Pay $5.1 million in Class Action Suit

Retailer Collected Death Benefits on Its EmployeesWal-Mart Stores recently settled a class action suit filed in Tulsa, OK on behalf of the estates of 73 former Oklahoma Wal-Mart employees who had died. The retail giant had taken out life insurance polices on its employees, making itself the beneficiary of the claims and collected death benefits for the deceased workers. Wal-Mart had claimed that it spent millions of dollars annually to recruit, screen, train, and retain employees. Plaintiffs in the case sued to recover the life insurance benefits, and the store has agreed to pay $5.1 million to settle the case.

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Black L.A. Firefighter Fed Dog Food Will Go to Trial After $2.7 million Verdict is Vetoed by Mayor

The City of Los Angeles will go to a jury trial in March, for a case brought against them by a black firefighter who claimed racial bias and was given a $2.7 million settlement by the Los Angeles City Council. Shortly after the $2.7 million settlement decision, the mayor of Los Angeles vetoed it. The L.A. City Council had decided before the veto that Firefighter Tennie Pierce's claim of racial bias and retaliation for complaining that he was fed dog food was worth $2.7 million, based verdicts awarded in similar cases.

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$2.3 million to Police Officers for Denied Promotions

A Hollywood, FL jury awarded $2.3 million to two police officers for age discrimination, one of whom was allegedly told by a lieutenant that he was "too dried up" to be promoted. Francis Hogan and Michael Springstun, both in their mid-50s, had applied to become lieutenants at least four times but were denied the promotions, allegedly in favor of younger officers with less experience. Both had long careers with the police department and had won several awards. Springstun claimed a lieutenant had told him he was "too dried up" to be promoted. The department contended that the promotions were solely qualification-based and noted that the officers chosen were only slightly younger than the plaintiffs.

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Court Clerk Wins $3 Million for Being Fired

A U.S. District Court jury in Michigan awarded a former court clerk $3 million in lost wages and damages against the Oakland County court for allegations that political pressures from a newly elected judge cost her a job she'd had for 14 years. In 2004, the same year that Michelle Horton of Washington Township was fired from her job, she had been named Employee of the Year. Horton alleged that she had been fired based on malicious, untrue political rumors.

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$175k to Probation Officer for Demotion After Reporting Child Abuse Case

A Probation officer who had worked for 29 years in Bowie County, Texas, will receive a $175,000 settlement for claiming she was demoted to another position after she reported that a child had been abused at a detention center. Karen Foster claimed that her supervisor had directed employees to not report abuse and that he had retaliated against her when she did, by sending her to another office. The settlement, which was reached before the suit went to trial, will be paid by Bowie County's insurer.

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Target Corp. to Pay $775k to Black Workers in Discrimination Case

Target Corp. has agreed to pay $775,000 to a group of black employees who worked in a Springfield, PA Target store, as part of a racial discrimination and retaliation settlement. Michael Hill and 13 other black employees were backed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), who filed a lawsuit on their behalf in 2005. The lawsuit charged that Hill, then in training to become a store manager, and 13 others were subjected to racial harassment by a white store manager, whom they reported for unlawful conduct. Hill claimed that he left the job because of the negative health effects of the discrimination and the lack of effective response to his internal complaints. The EEOC alleged that his resignation was forced upon him, amounting to a constructive discharge. Target Corp. agreed to settle the lawsuit with Hill for $275,000, while paying an additional $500k to be split amongst the 13 others.

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