A jury awarded our client $955,000 late today, after finding the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) guilty of illegal discrimination. The lawsuit alleged that the agency was tired of dealing with our client’s disabilities, and used a single minor incident to fire him. There was overwhelming evidence – much of which DCF tried to alter or hide prior to trial – that other employees received only minor discipline for similar offenses.
Kevin Askew was a disabled, 25-year employee, and held the position of Interstate Specialist at the time of his firing. One day while at work he strayed into a restricted DCF database. After doing so, however, he immediately self-reported the incident to his supervisor. Having spent his entire adult life as a loyal DCF employee, he never imagined that his bosses would seize on it as a tool to run him off. But they did. And there was powerful evidence that many DCF employees committed similar modest offenses and were given minor discipline, if any. To make matters worse, it appeared on multiple occasions during this case that DCF was going to great lengths to hide or alter its records showing that our client had been treated far worse than others.
The verdict tonight is a powerful message to employers who discriminate: There is a heavy price to pay for such conduct, and juries can easily see through the sham explanations they offer to hide it.
Have You Suffered Discrimination on the Job – Or Think You Might Have?
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