A local jury awarded a Texas woman a total of $1.3 million after a trial about the conditions surrounding her 2008 termination from her job with Jefferson County. The woman worked for the county as an administrator for the purchasing department for about one year before she was fired, which she claimed in her lawsuit as a result of age discrimination and retaliation.
Texas employees are protected from age discrimination and cannot be fired or disciplined for making a good faith complaint about discrimination or other wrongdoing in the workplace.
In this case, the woman says that starting right after she first took the job, her supervisor began making comments about her age and frequently discussed retirement with her. When she was fired without an explanation, she was replaced by a younger, male employee.
In addition to the concerns about age discrimination as a motivating factor behind her termination, the woman also thought she may have been fired in part because of a complaint she made about discrimination elsewhere in the department. According to the lawsuit, there were several occasions of discrimination that concerned her, but she spoke out in particular about one situation in which a colleague who is a dwarf was transferred to another role.
The jury reviewed all of these allegations and determined that discrimination was a factor in her termination, and awarded her for lost wages, lost benefits, and the mental anguish that she suffered as a result of the ordeal. The total amount of $1.3 million was apportioned among those different categories.
Source: Southeast Texas Record, "Jefferson County slammed with $1.3M verdict following discrimination trial," David Yates, March 7, 2013.