When it comes to discrimination laws, you’d think the federal government would know the rules. Yet a jury recently ordered the U.S. Homeland Security Department to pay $2.5 million to a former employee in a bias lawsuit.
An intelligence specialist alleged that managers and co-workers in Homeland Security’s Miami offices harassed him. Doctors testified the harassment caused him disabling depression.
The employee complained to the EEOC and also filed suit, electing to represent himself. Homeland Security offered to let him work in its Fort Lauderdale offices if he would drop the lawsuit. When he refused, it transferred him back to Miami. Finally, after 10 years with the government, he was fired.
Then he filed a second lawsuit. After a trial in a Southern Florida district court, the jury awarded him $220,000 in back pay, $780,000 in future pay and $1.5 million for mental anguish.
- Charlotte company learns the hard way: You will pay for bias
- EEOC class action requires proof each member was harassed
- ADA disability: Always allow for individualized assessment of employee's condition
- Choose one when suing: bias or wrongful termination
- Making a frivolous complaint is not protected activity