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Jury awards nearly $17 million in discrimination case

A federal jury in Michigan has awarded a former Ford engineer nearly $17 million in a discrimination lawsuit.

The suit alleged that Ford discriminated against the man for his Arab background and then retaliated against him after he reported the discrimination.

The engineer, who was originally from Lebanon, holds a PhD in industrial engineering. Ford employed him for 15 years.

The case was litigated by attorney Carol Laughbaum of Sterling Attorneys at Law.

The jury awarded: $15 million in punitive damages, $1.7 million for retirement and pension losses and $100,000 for emotional distress.

The federal Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act applies to a variety of employment areas, including hiring and firing, discipline, pay, benefits and promotions.

Fired after reporting the discrimination

The discrimination in the Ford case began in 2012 after the engineer was assigned to a new supervisor, who was a high-level executive. Prior to the change in supervisors, the engineer earned top performance ratings. After the change, the new supervisor frequently criticized and berated the engineer for his supposed inability to speak and understand English.

The supervisor also gave him demeaning and servile jobs, which included getting coffee. The mistreatment continued in 2013 when the engineer began working for a new supervisor.

Due to the stress of the job, the engineer took medical leave in 2014. Ford fired him in 2015 after he filed discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Michigan Department of Civil Rights. 

If you have a question about discrimination at your place of employment, contact an experienced employment law attorney. 

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