A jury in Missouri has awarded $5 million in punitive damages against Southwestern Bell/AT&T after a former employee claimed she endured religious discrimination for years after converting to Islam.
The award appears to be the largest jury verdict for a workplace discrimination case in the history of Missouri, the attorney representing Susann Bashir told The Kansas City Star. The jury also awarded Bashir $120,000 in lost wages and other actual damages, the newspaper reported.
Bashir claimed workers made harassing comments about her religion, left Bible verses on her desk, asked her whether she was going to blow up the building and called her a terrorist, according to the report.
She filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and was ultimately fired from her $70,000-per-year job after she didn’t return to work for nine months due to stress she endured.
The jury award will have to be reduced because Missouri law caps the awards at five times the actual damage plus attorney’s fees, the newspaper reported.
AT&T plans to file an appeal, and a spokesman told The Kansas City Star that the company is a “nationally recognized leader in workforce diversity and inclusion.”