Thursday, September 10, 2009

Discrimination's Price Tag

Occasionally, I like to put actual dollar figures on cases so my readers can get a feel for the consequences of discriminatory employment actions. The August issue of Pennsylvania Jury Verdict Review and Analysis included an employment law case from New Jersey. The case involved a math professor who resigned from a county college after 24 years of employment.

She later tried to come back claiming that she was in the manic phase of a previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder when she resigned. The school refused, prompting the law suit. She claimed the school "knew or should have known that she did not possess the mental capacity to understand the consequences of retiring and [the school] acted wrongfully in refusing to permit her to rescind the resignation."

The jury found for the plaintiff. The price tag: $1,200,000. $200,000 in back pay and $1,000,000 in future pay. To put that in perspective, that would be one semester's worth of tuition at this college from over 800 students (assuming an in-county student taking 15 credits)!