On May 1, 2013, an Iowa jury awarded a historic verdict of $240 million to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) in a case involving severe and pervasive abuse of employees with intellectual disabilities. This marks the highest jury verdict ever awarded to the EEOC.
The case was brought against Henry’s Turkey Service, a Texas-based corporation conducting business in Iowa, on behalf of 32 men with intellectual disabilities who were subjected to abusive employment conditions between 2007 and 2009. Throughout this time, the employees were forced to live in rodent-infested housing, and were subjected to ongoing physical and verbal abuse.
Each of the 32 employees was awarded $ 2 million in punitive damages and $5.5 million in compensatory damages. The unprecedented verdict is a major victory not only for the individuals involved, but also for all those dedicated to eradicating workplace discrimination. General Counsel for the EEOC remarked, “this historic verdict marks one of the EEOC’s finest moments in its ongoing efforts to combat employment discrimination, especially against vulnerable and historically underserved populations.”
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