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Major disability discrimination suit ends in minor award

Workers’ rights advocates, attorneys and victims in Minnesota and around the country applauded a recent court ruling in one of the largest, and most disturbing, discrimination cases to arise in recent history. That federal disability discrimination lawsuit involved 32 victims and resulted in jurors awarding a groundbreaking sum of damages. And while the ruling served to expose the gross injustice the victims had endured for years at the hands of their employer, the legality of the settlement figure ultimately did not stand.

The defendant in the case employed hundreds of workers with mental disabilities over the years. The company that had contracted the work of the disabled employees monitored their workplace and living environment. That company was found to have subjected the men to unfit conditions, along with mental and physical abuse. In fact, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed its suit against the defendant after many of the men required medical treatment and all were removed from the situation. 

As a result of that suit, 32 victims were awarded $7.5 million each in damages. Though, that amount is set to dwindle considerably due to the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act stipulates a cap on how much certain sized companies can be forced to pay.

The victims are entitled to around $50,000 in damages, and it is likely that two years’ worth of pack pay will be added to the judgment. While the decreased award may be an unfortunate concession, it might be a more realistic amount to meet by the defendant. Ranchland valued at $2-$4 million may be seized by the EEOC to contribute to what the defunct company owes.

Source: Huffington Post, “Landmark $240 Million Payout Awarded To Abused, Disabled Workers Slashed To $1.6 Million,” Ryan J. Foley, May 13, 2013

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