In the midst of a merger that would make it the second-largest waste collection company in the country, Republic Services Inc., based in Fort Lauderdale, has been ordered to pay $46.7 million for wrongfully firing an employee and doctoring company records to justify its actions.
Ronald Luri, former general manager for Republic’s Cleveland division, received the award from an Ohio jury, which found Republic “tried to ruin his career.” Luri’s attorney said the award is the largest of its kind in Ohio history.
Luri claimed Republic directed him to fire three employees, all of whom were roughly 60 years old. Luri refused, warning the company that it could face an age discrimination lawsuit. That’s when Republic fired him.
According to the lawsuit, Luri’s manager, Jim Bowen, Ohio-area president for the company, then created false documents to support the firing. A computer expert testified that Bowen postdated an electronic memo and added several paragraphs criticizing Luri’s job performance.
Attorneys for Republic said the allegations were “nothing more than Luri’s bruised ego.” Could be, but Republic’s the one with the $47 million black eye.
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