A Chicago-area man was awarded $4.2 million in total damages Thursday from the Chrysler company by a federal jury who believed the company did not do enough to stop years of religious and ethnic harassment.
According to the Rockford Register Star, the 60-year-old plaintiff filed the lawsuit against Chrysler in 2002. He is a pipe fitter at the company’s Belvidere assembly plant and has worked for Chrysler for nearly 22 years. A Cuban-born Jew, the plaintiff took abuse for years from co-workers, including being called an “import from Cuba,” having his tires shredded by homemade spikes and having messages such as “Kill Jew. Heil Hitler” scribbled on his locker.
The jury awarded May $709,000 in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages. However, statutory damage caps will likely lower the amount actually awarded to the plaintiff by a significant amount. Juries are never told that the full amount that they award to a plaintiff will not be ordered by the Court due to the damage caps that have been placed on such awards by federal and state legislatures.