Discrimination Verdict of the Week: Colorado Jury Awards $14M to Employees in Race and Retaliation Lawsuit Against Trucking Company

In the latest enormous verdict handed down in a race discrimination lawsuit, Matheson Trucking in Colorado has lost a discrimination and retaliation case filed by seven plaintiffs, five of which are immigrants from Africa and Brazil. According to the lawsuit, black employees worked on one side of the warehouse and white employees on the other. Additionally, the plaintiffs testified that white staff and supervisors called the employees racial slurs including “dirty, stupid Africans.”

The jury verdict consisted of $318,000 in back pay for each of the plaintiffs, as well as $13 million in punitive damages, to be split between the seven employees involved in the lawsuit. Not surprisingly, Matheson’s attorney stated Tuesday that the company “prides itself on hiring and employing a highly diverse workforce consisting of men and women of different races and cultures” and plans to appeal the decision.

Social Media Outburst and Comments to News Articles Display Negative Publicity Towards Matheson

Although the old saying goes “any publicity is good publicity,” when your company is hit with a $14 million dollar, high profile verdict wherein your supervisors are accused of calling employees the “n” word and segregating the workplace you can imagine the public relations fallout. Indeed, across countless news articles in the past two days there are comments calling for Matheson’s closure and boycott of the private vendors for whom Matheson transports mail.

Discrimination Training Prepares Supervisors to Create an Environment that is Welcoming of a Diverse Workforce

Today’s workforce is increasingly diverse. With that diversity comes an increased desire among employees to work in an environment that fosters a positive culture towards people of all backgrounds. By providing anti-discrimination training on a regular basis to your managers and supervisors you can have them prepared to identify hot points that may be causes for concern. This preparation is the first step in preventing lawsuits and the negative reputation that comes with them. Had Matheson engaged in widespread management training there is no doubt they would not have faced the firestorm encircling the company this week.

Syntrio Provides Cost-Effective and Time Sensitive Race Discrimination Training

When reviewing the list of potential expenses for your company this year it is important to take a long-term view. Syntrio knows that training is a substantial time investment for your company. However, our cost-effective method of online discrimination training will have your managers up to speed without losing productivity. Contact Syntrio for more information and remember to follow us on Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your business!

 

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