A federal jury recently returned a verdict in favor of a former executive from a national hotel chain who claimed that his termination was in retaliation for his complaint of age discrimination. According to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, the plaintiff was fired in January 2009, after which time he was unable to find employment. The plaintiff claimed that he was fired because of his age. The jury returned a verdict for the defense on the discrimination claim, but ruled that the hotel chain retaliated against the plaintiff for bringing his age discrimination claim. The plaintiff received damages of $500,000 in front pay, $750,000 in back pay, and $1 million in emotional distress damages. In addition, the Court doubled the damages award under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151B, Section 9, for a total award of $4.5 million.
This case provides a stark reminder that the provisions of Massachusetts employment and discrimination laws apply to highly-paid executives as much as they do to hourly wage earners. In fact, the amount of damages awarded in this case exceeds the total award in many employment class-actions.