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US court awards nearly USD 4 million to former steel worker at ArcelorMittal

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Buffalo News reported that of a federal appeals court in US has awarded the former steel worker Elijah Turley about USD 4 million for the abuse and harassment including racial insults, intimidation and degradation he lived with just eight years ago while working at Lackawanna steel plant.

The appeals court said in its decision “Turley’s co-workers frequently subjected him to racist epithets, degrading treatment and, from time to time, outright threats. The experience left the plaintiff psychologically scarred and deflated.”

The appeals court ruling came two years after a federal court jury initially awarded Turley USD 25 million in damages. Lowered later to USD 6 million, the award followed a three-week trial at which Turley, an African-American, testified about a series of workplace incidents that left him a physical and emotional wreck and forever changed his life. The court recommended a punitive damages award of about USD 2.6 million but the final decision rests with Skretny, and Turley if he decides not to accept it.

The appeals court said that “Turley’s work station became a stage for repeated intimidation and harassment.”

In upholding most of Turley’s lower court award, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals kept his compensatory damages at USD 1.3 million but reduced his punitive damages from USD 5 million to about USD 2.6 million.

However, the judges found no reason to question the original verdict finding Turley’s former employer, ArcelorMittal Steel, partly responsible for a pattern of “extreme racial harassment.”

ArcelorMittal in a statement said that “We are pleased that the Second Circuit agreed that the punitive damages were excessive. ArcelorMittal is an equal opportunity employer with a zero tolerance policy for workplace discrimination or harassment, and the alleged acts of harassment in the case are not representative of the ArcelorMittal workplace.”

Source – Buffalo News

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