Two victims of workplace discrimination recently received justice in court--and both cases have their roots in the South.
Both cases also involve substantial amounts of money, an indication that courts do not look kindly upon organizations that discriminate and retaliate against their employees.
The better known of the two cases involves Mauricia Grant, a former technical inspector for NASCAR who said she was subjected to repeated racial discrimination and sexual harassment in the two-plus years she worked for the stock-car organization.
NASCAR recently announced that it had reached a settlement in Grant's $225 million case.
Grant apparently came away with a solid financial result, but Ed Hinton of ESPN notes the down side to such settlements--particularly when it comes to NASCAR, which has a history of effectively hiding its dirty laundry.
The second case involves Yvonne Baldwin, the former acting police chief in Prichard, Alabama. Baldwin claimed that the city discriminated against her, and a federal jury in Mobile agreed, awarding $235,000.
Baldwin's attorney, James Starnes of Birmingham, said the case involved overwhelming evidence of disparate treatment compared to Baldwin's male counterpart.
The case also involved retaliation after Baldwin filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
No two cases and no two juries are alike, of course, but it is interesting to compare the Baldwin case to the one I will be filing against UAB. Disparate treatment, based on gender, race, age, etc., is at the heart of any discrimination case. It appears to have been clearly present in the Baldwin case, along with retaliation for filing an EEOC complaint.
Those two issues are present in my case, along with a couple of issues--wrongful termination and First Amendment violations--that apparently were not present in the Baldwin case.
Baldwin no longer works in the Prichard Police Department, but she was not terminated. She declined to accept a contract offer that she said was not equal to one offered to a male colleague. And First-Amendment issues were not present at all in the Baldwin case.
News accounts note that Baldwin also could receive attorney's fees and costs in her judgment.