McDonnell Must Pay $28 Million in Bias Case

A jury ordered McDonnell Douglas to pay $28 million to a former employee who sued the company for retaliation after he filed an age and racial discrimination complaint against the former aircraft maker. After a five-week trial, the Los Angeles County Superior Court jury awarded Gerald Verdine, 58, of Carson $2 million in compensatory damages and $26 million in punitive damages stemming from his 1996 lawsuit against the company, which was acquired last year by Seattle-based Boeing Co. "The jury told McDonnell Douglas that this conduct was reprehensible and that they should never do this to another employee," said Larry Feldman, Verdine's attorney. McDonnell Douglas attorney John Golper could not be reached for comment. On his 30th anniversary at the company's Long Beach manufacturing plant, Verdine was fired without warning, Feldman said. Verdine, who is black, then sued the company for race discrimination and retaliation. The March 1996 termination came about four years after Verdine filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming he had been laid off in spring 1992 because of his age and race. Feldman said the company settled that claim and reinstated Verdine after vowing not to retaliate against him.

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