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New York discrimination may lead to multi-million-dollar verdict

A former school teacher in another state claimed that she was discriminated against due to being white. She therefore filed a lawsuit against her employer and recently was awarded over $4.3 million in the suit. Employees in New York who are mistreated because of their race have the right to fight back through the civil court system.

The woman involved in the out-of-state case had been a teacher for nine years for a state school that focused on youth services before being terminated in 2012. That is when she filed a suit against the state's social services department, which oversees the school. She also specifically named three agency supervisors as defendants.

In her suit, the woman claimed that a black supervisor at the state school sexually harassed her and racially discriminated against her. For instance, the woman was told that she was not capable of teaching black children since she was an old white woman from the suburbs. However, following a trial that lasted a week, a jury returned the verdict of more than $4.3 million.

The verdict amount included compensatory damages totaling $750,000. It also included lost wages totaling $200,000 and emotional distress totaling $550,000. The remainder of the amount came in the form of punitive damages, for which the jury ended up awarding $100,000 more than that requested by the woman's attorney.

An employer in New York legally cannot discriminate or fire a worker simply because of the color of his or her skin. If this happens, the employer has violated federal law and may be held liable. An understanding of what facts need to be proved is paramount in order to prevail in this type of case.

Source: kansascity.com, "Woman fired because she is white wins discrimination suit", Ian Cummings and Glenn E. Rice, Aug. 1, 2017

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