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Jury Hits Employer with $3.3M For Condoning Racial Jokes and Slurs At Work

On March 17, 2016, two minority employees (a Sudanese Muslim and African-American) of a road marking company were awarded close to $3.4 million in damages against their former employer after finding the company refused to promote nonwhite workers and forced the minority employees to endure racial slurs and jokes.  Of the approximate $3.4 million in damages, $3 million constituted punitive damages, sending a strong message that juries are not going to tolerate racial discrimination in the workplace.

Despite receiving favorable year-end reviews, the minority employees were denied promotions granted to white coworkers.  Instead of receiving promotions, the minority employees were subjected to name calling, such as “Kunta Kinte,” the name of a slave from “Roots,” a 1977 television series about slavery in America. The racist and discriminatory conduct against the minority men was found to have been condoned by staff at the highest levels in the company.

The case is Yosif Bakhit et al v. Safety Marking Inc. et al, case number 3:13-cv-1049 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

If you or anyone you know has been subjected to discrimination in the workplace, contact the attorneys at Zeldes Haeggquist & Eck, LLP.