The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has just reinstated
a $500,000 retaliation verdict against MARTA. The
retaliation lawsuit was filed after a man was allegedly fired for telling his supervisor he
was going to file a race discrimination case.
In order to protect individuals from discrimination in the work place,
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from retaliating
against workers who complain about discrimination – even if the
workers may not be to affirmatively prove such discrimination occurred.
This means that if you can show that you reasonably believed that you
were discriminated against and then subjected to an adverse action, you
may be able to recover damages in a retaliation case.
In the recent matter, argued on appeal by Attorney Steven Wolfe of Atlanta’s
Buckley Law Firm, Darryl Connelly, a white MARTA worker, complained that
his supervisor, who is African-American, subjected him to race discrimination.
Evidence was introduced that she referred to herself as a “mean
black bitch” and socialized with black employees. Connelly asserted
that he was fired after he complained to her that she was “railroading” him.
A jury determined that MARTA was guilty of retaliation and awarded a $500,000
verdict to Connelly. However because the verdict was split – the
supervisor was not found liable – the court set aside the award
as “inconsistent.” On successful appeal, the 11th Circuit
Court determined that an inconsistent verdict was not a proper basis to
set aside the award. As such, it reinstated the verdict against MARTA,
finding the employer liable for retaliating against Connelly for complaining
Wolfe commented, “We’re obviously very pleased to have the
verdict reinstated” and noted that the plaintiff has not yet determined
whether he will continue to pursue the underlying racial discrimination claim.
This case serves as an important reminder that if you believe that you
have been discriminated against, employment laws protect your right to
speak up. In order to help rid the work place of discrimination, Title
VII prohibits retaliation, providing for damages if you suffer negative
consequences as a result of your complaint.
For more information, or if you believe you have suffered any form of employment
discrimination, please contact the experienced and compassionate
employment discrimination attorneys at the Buckley Law Firm for an immediate, confidential consultation.