WSBTV is reporting that a federal judge has awarded an Atlanta man $1.18 million as a result of his discrimination lawsuit against Fulton County. In 2012, a jury awarded Doug Carl, a former employee of the Fulton County Department of Human Services (“DHS”), $300,000 for back pay that he would have received had the county not discriminated against him. The judge’s additional award covers issues such as the loss of the Carl’s position, the loss of his pension, and five years of future pay, since he would have been eligible for retirement at that time. Whether the county will be responsible for Carl’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees remains an outstanding issue. This is an important case for your Atlanta employment attorneys, as it shows just how costly an employment discrimination lawsuit can be for parties on both sides of the dispute.
In February 2007, Carl was working as the interim director of the Fulton County DHS when he was denied promotion to the director position. Carl claimed that the former county manager and commissioner denied him the promotion because they wanted an African-American female to fill the position, since an African-American female had previously held the position. The commissioner also reportedly stated that there were too many “white boys” on staff. After Carl filed his discrimination lawsuit, a jury found in 2012 that Carl had been denied the promotion because of his race and gender.
So far, Carl has not received any of the funds that he has been awarded. Fulton County has appealed the trial court judgment against it, which may cause this case to last for several more years, and is likely to cost both sides many more thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.
Your Atlanta employment attorneys can tell you that discrimination in employment based on factors such as race and sex is prohibited by federal law, and is often prohibited by state law, as well. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal government agency that administers and enforces employment discrimination laws. Any individual may file a charge of job discrimination with the EEOC. Once filed, the EEOC will attempt to resolve the matter through mediation, and if they are unable to do so, the EEOC will advise whether the individual has the right to proceed with a job discrimination lawsuit.
As the case above illustrates, employment discrimination lawsuits can be time-consuming (years even) and very costly for all parties involved. This is why it is critical for employers to be proactive, as well as educated about their rights and responsibilities in terms of employment discrimination, so that they may avoid situations such as these in the first place.
Whether you are an employee who suspects that you have been the victim of discrimination, or an employer who wants to take all steps necessary to prevent even the appearance of discrimination in the workplace, your Atlanta employment attorneys can help. Contact our office today, and see how we can help you with your situation.