I have recently written about cases where discrimination and retaliation led to large verdicts and huge liability for employers.  These cases remind us that hostility at work, in the form of discrimination and harassment, is wrong and expensive.  An additional example from just this week shows what happens when harassment occurs and is allowed to continue, and ends up out of control.

This past Tuesday, a federal jury in New York awarded $25 million to a steel plant worker on his mind-boggling claims of racial discrimination, harassment and retaliation, as well as some tort claims for emotional distress.  That kind of verdict raises eyebrows for sure.  But what is even more startling is what the employee was subjected to by his co-workers and how his employer responded (or in most cases, failed to respond).
Continue Reading Hostility At Work — Expensive, Wrong & OUT OF CONTROL!

Late last week, a jury in Missouri awarded $5 million in punitive damages to a woman who proved she was subjected to a hostile work environment because she converted to Islam.

According to published reports, the woman, who was a network technician for a telephone company, had been in her job for six years when she converted to Islam in 2005.  Soon after converting she was subjected to name-calling (such as “terrorist”) and being told she was “going to hell” by co-workers and managers.  A manager also pressured her to remove the hijab (head scarf) she wore to comply with her religion and even grabbed it off of her head one time.  This behavior went on for 3 years
Continue Reading Hostility At Work Is Expensive (And Wrong)