A federal jury awarded a former steel worker in New York $25 million in damages after management failed to stop years of harassment and racial discrimination, according to the Huffington Post. Elijah Turley, an African-American, worked for ArcelorMittal, a Luxembourg based steel manufacturer, at a facility in Buffalo.
Turley testified that during his tenure, he was subject to graffiti that read “KKK” and “King Kong,” and once found a stuffed monkey hanging from a noose on his driver’s side mirror after work one day.
“It’s absolutely shocking that a case like this is in court in 2012,” said Ryan J. Mills, the attorney representing Turley. “It should be viewed as atrocious and intolerable in a civilized society.”
Turley testified that the continuous harassment spanned from 2005 for 2008, and that the taunting changed his life and left him damaged both physically and emotionally. The defense admitted during the trial that Turley’s description of the abuse was accurate, but dismissed it as “common trash-talking” and said that management took steps to stop it by installing a security camera.
“This case is about the breakdown of a man,” said Mills. “He wanted to be treated equally, treated equally in a culture that hadn’t changed since the ‘50’s.”
This is a hostile work environment, to say the least. The employees engaging in this behavior should have been terminated immediately, and management is to blame for fostering this culture. Contact our offices today if you have ever experienced any behavior like this in your workplace.
Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles discrimination lawyers