Million dollar verdicts in employment cases are rare. But, they do occur. In one lawsuit against Glow Networks, Inc., nine African-American employees sued the company for racial discrimination. The jury not only agreed, they awarded $70 million to the nine workers. Glow Networks, Inc. is a telecommunications firm.
Among the evidence was the experience of one employee who noticed a video camera set up in the office where he worked. Yet, in the office area where only white workers sat, there were no cameras. Joshua Yarbrough and another black employee were reprimanded for checking their phones during work hours. How would management know they had checked their phones except for the camera? Of 11 rooms in the work space, two had cameras. Those were the same two rooms where the black engineers had been advised to sit.
When Mr. Yarbrough was replaced and demoted to simple engineer, he quit. Later when the company went through some layoffs, they laid off many of the African-American workers. One supervisor testified that when the layoffs were occurring, a Human Resources representative said not to lay off any white workers. The white supervisor apparently testified at the trial. He said he nominated two engineers for promotion. Neither was promoted.
Mr. Yarbrough and eight other black plaintiffs filed suit. They filed suit under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983. So, the plaintiffs do not have to contend with caps on the compensatory and punitive damage awards. I do not know what the employer offered to settle the matter. But, I imagine they wish they had offered more.
See Dallas Morning News report.