Recent Employment-Discrimination Jury Verdicts

Below are summaries of three recent employment-discrimination cases involving multi-million-dollar awards for the plaintiff-employee. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Marcus v. PQ Corp. $6.2 million

Two scientists were awarded a total of $6.2 million (not including attorney’s fees, motions for which are now pending), by a federal jury in Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs alleged that they were laid off due to their ages, instead of other, non-discriminatory criteria.

The total is so staggering for a few reasons. First, the plaintiffs were awarded approximately $667,000 and $190,000 in back pay. The layoffs occurred in 2005, so the plaintiffs were able to recover for back pay lost as a result of finding other work for less pay or for not finding work at all. These amounts were doubled because the jury found that the discrimination was willful.

The plaintiffs also received front pay damages in the amounts of $670,000 and $375,000, presumptively as compensation for the time they would have worked past the date of the verdict had they not been wrongfully discharged. Add to that amount emotional-distress damages of $1.5 and $2 million each to get to a total award of $6.2 million. (via

Susel v. Dix & Eaton $1.03 million

The plaintiff alleged that she was fired at age 59 for complaining about age discrimination. She claimed that she went to the HR manager and reported her suspicions that she was being set up to be terminated because of her age. She filed suit after she was fired five months later. In all, she took 5 counts to an Ohio state-court jury, which ruled in her favor on only the retaliation claim, ordering the defendant to pay $1.03 million.

Blount v. Stroud $3.08 million (1.18 million fees)

The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed a verdict returned in favor of the plaintiff and awarding damages in the amount of $3.08 million, plus an award of attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $1.18 million. The jury found that the plaintiff had witnessed racial discrimination and sexual harassment of another employee and had agreed to testify on the coworker’s behalf. The plaintiff claimed that she was terminated in retaliation for agreeing to testify.

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