A black steelworker has been awarded $25 million in damages after a federal jury ruled his former company didn't do enough to stop years of racial slurs and taunting by his co-workers.
According to the Buffalo News, Elijah Turley testified during the trial that colleagues at the Buffalo-area plant called him "boy" and left a stuffed monkey with a noose around its neck on his car's driver's side mirror. He also recalled seeing "KKK" and "King Kong" scrawled on the factory's walls.
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"It's absolutely shocking that a case like this is in court in 2012," Ryan J. Mills, Turley's lawyer, said in closing arguments. "It should be viewed as atrocious and intolerable in a civilized society."
Lawyers for ArcelorMittal countered that company officials suspended Turley's co-workers and took other steps to stop the harassment. The newspaper reported they also suggested that a lot of what Turley endured was "trash-talking" that's common on factory floors.
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But the jury unanimously decided that the company and some of its executives were liable.
"This case is about the breakdown of a man," Mills told the jury. "He wanted to be treated equally, treated equally in a culture that hadn't changed since the '50s."
It is not known if the company will appeal the ruling, the Buffalo News reported.