Monday, December 29, 2008

Victims of Discrimination Receive Justice In Court

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.


Robby Scott Hill said...

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I love this blog.

EEOC is not my area of expertise, but I'm going to follow your case and get versed in it. Too many state employees have been abused by Riley and Company. The whole idea of being employed in a merit job is that you are supposed to be insulated from politics in a way that the appointees and department heads are not. Roger, you spoke your mind in an independent manner while off the clock and got punished for it. You have every right to cry foul and get paid well when you win your claim.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for your interest and your supportive comments. These two cases, of course, don't mean a thing regarding the outcome of my case. And I'm still in the EEOC-complaint stage, a precursor to a lawsuit. But I do find it interesting that NASCAR apparently wanted nothing to do with a trial in the Grant case. In fact, I'm guessing a settlement was reached before much, if any, discovery took place. And the City of Prichard probably is wishing it had not gone to trial. Plaintiffs certainly have to prove their cases, and that is how it should be, but you wonder if workplace cheat jobs are becoming so commonplace that jurors (some of them, anyway) are saying "enough."


Anonymous said...

25 to 1 you lose

legalschnauzer said...

What do you base that on?