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Jury verdict upheld in employment discrimination-related case

Although there are numerous state and federal laws designed to prevent and punish employment discrimination, the sad fact is that the problem is still prevalent throughout the country. Despite the best efforts of corporate headquarters and the highest levels of government entities, employers still have to place a great deal of trust in lower-level management officials in the day-to-day tasks of running a business or agency. So, when an appellate court upholds a substantial jury award based on a wrongful termination lawsuit, many employers are likely to take notice.

That was what occurred with three individuals who were employed by a county jail. According to the reports, these three individuals filed a wrongful termination lawsuit alleging that they were fired when they reported another employee for beating an inmate who was being housed in the jail. The original action was initiated in federal court, and last year the case ended well for the plaintiffs - a jury award of $721,000 in damages.

The employer in the case was the county sheriff's department. After the plaintiffs' success with the jury trial, the employer appealed the decision because they believed in their defense: that the three employees were terminated for justifiable reasons. The appeal went to the next level for federal review, and that court substantiated the jury verdict, stating that there was sufficient evidence for the verdict in favor of the plaintiffs.

Wrongful termination lawsuits can be tricky to pursue. However, when an individual believes they have been terminated from employment for unjustifiable reasons this type of lawsuit can often result in a significant amount of damages - which will not only hold that individual's employer accountable but will also put other employers on notice of what is and what is not acceptable behavior.

Source: ClarionLedger.com, "DeSoto County loses wrongful termination lawsuit," July 22, 2013

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