HR Management & Compliance

News Notes: Race Discrimination Claim Upheld, Damages Reduced

In 1994, we reported on the case of a black engineer and his supervisor who sued Hughes Aircraft. The engineer claimed he was denied promotions and raises because of his race. His supervisor charged that managers pressured him to fabricate negative performance reviews about the engineer, and when he refused to comply, turned him down for promotion and threatened him with termination. A Los Angeles jury awarded the two employees $89.5 million, including $40 million in punitive damages-one of the largest race bias verdicts ever. A California appeals court recently upheld the jury’s discrimination decision. But the court slashed the punitive damages to $5 million for the engineer and $2.8 million for his former boss.