IN BRIEF...

A jury awarded $28 million to a black employee who claimed he was fired in retaliation for earlier charges of age and race bias filed with the EEOC. The 30-year employee alleged he was fired without any warning and on the pretext that there was not enough work. The award includes $544,000 for economic losses, $1.5 million for emotional distress, and $26 million in punitive damages. The employer is deciding whether to ask the court to set aside the award and to appeal, its attorney, John Golper, said (Verdine v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., Cal.Super.Ct. L.A.Cty., No. BC168266, verdict returned 7/7/98).

Sexual orientation should be protected against discrimination under Colorado state law, Colorado's Commission of the Rights and Responsibilities of Same-Sex Relationships recommended July 8. The panel urged the state to consider prohibiting bias against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in the workplace and classifying certain criminal acts against homosexuals as hate crimes. Although several major Colorado employers and cities prohibit sexual orientation bias, it is legal to fir someone in Colorado based on his or her actual or perceived sexual orientation , the commission noted.

A white motel desk clerk was awarded $2 million in punitive damages after being fired for complaining to the Department of Justice that black patrons were denied lodging, rented inferior rooms, or charged more than white guests. The jury also awarded him $50,000 in compensatory damages for mental anguish, according to his attorney, John C. Davis. The company will appeal, said a spokesman, who denied that the motel chain discriminates against minority guests or employees (Petaccia v. Motel 6, G.P., M.D. Fla., No. 96-115-CIV-FTM-17D, verdict returned 6/18/98).