Carney Shegerian of Shegerian & Associates, Inc., a Santa Monica-based litigation law firm specializing in employee rights, obtained a more than $16.6 million wrongful termination and racial discrimination jury verdict yesterday in favor of his client against defendants McWane, Inc.

Yesterday’s verdict resulted in Rickey Moland being awarded more than $16.6 million by a Los Angeles jury that found he had been discriminated against due to race, wrongfully terminated and that McWane, Inc. failed to prevent discrimination in the workplace. The court announced that the award of $16.6 million is made up of $373,514 in economic damages, $2.5 million in non-economic damages, and $13.8 million in punitive damages.

Moland, a 53-year-old African-American man, began working for McWane, Inc. as a Production Supervisor in June of 2010. According to Moland’s complaint, he struggled to be treated with respect by many of his subordinates and superiors at the company, despite consistently excellent work performance. Despite this, he chose to continue to work hard, hoping that he would earn his colleagues’ respect.

Throughout his tenure as the first and only African-American manager in the McWane, Inc.’s Corona facility, Moland’s complaint describes how he was repeatedly referred to by other employees in racially derogatory terms. Managers and Human Resources became aware of this conduct, yet did nothing to stop it. Moland later learned from multiple sources that he was regularly referred to by “the n-word” behind his back by several employees, including supervisors and high-ranking management.

Anonymous complaints of racism were filed by two separate employees, which launched an internal investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation, the company chose to fire Moland in April of 2012 on the grounds that he was not “getting along” with fellow employees.

In court Shegerian was able to prove to the jury that such behavior had taken place and that McWane, Inc. was clearly in violation of discrimination and wrongful termination laws, resulting in a favorable verdict for Moland.

“It’s been a great privilege to have had the opportunity to represent Rickey Moland,” said Shegerian. “He is a hard working, ethical professional who was victimized by egregious, repeated racial discrimination and an employer that chose to look the other way, and wrongfully terminate our client. He performed his position at an exemplary level prior to his termination. We hope that McWane and other employers, have learned from this experience that it is against the law to discriminate against and harass employees due to the color of their skin.”

Case # BC559796


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