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Maine Gay Man Wins $1 Million in Discrimination Suit Against Express Jet Airlines

A jury has awarded a gay Maine man $1 million in a lawsuit against his former employer, Express Jet Airlines, the Press Herald reports:

Expressjet "Edward Russell's attorney, Guy Loranger, argued in Cumberland County Superior Court that his client was repeatedly passed up for promotion because he is gay. In late June, a jury agreed after hearing three days of evidence and deliberating for six hours. The jury found that Russell's former employer, Express Jet Airlines, had violated Maine's Human Rights Act, which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation. Jurors awarded Russell $500,000 for emotional distress, $500,000 for punitive damages and $47,000 in lost wages. Loranger said Tuesday that the judge will determine what award caps to apply; he speculated the overall award will be capped at $547,000, plus attorney's fees and other costs. Attorneys for the company are arguing for a lower cap, Loranger said, and have said they would appeal. Express Jet's Vermont-based attorney could not be reached for comment, and the company's media relations office did not return a call for comment. Loranger said this is the largest sexual orientation discrimination award in Maine, a fact confirmed by John Gause, corporate counsel to the Maine Human Rights Commission."

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  1. If the judge ultimately settles the monetary amount awarded plaintiffs in the united states (as is more often the case than not)...why bother pretending that the jury gets to decide? Is it to continue the charade of justice for the people and not the corporate interest?

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 15, 2010 11:11:01 AM


  2. The beauty of this victory is the loud message it sounds to the hundreds of employers who have and would discriminate in hiring practices over sexual orientation....not in 2010! Not according to this court.

    Posted by: Jason | Jul 15, 2010 11:12:46 AM


  3. There's a new story you don't often see. The fact that he repeatedly was denied a promotion, while I take it less qualified people recieved the promition tells me he had a great case. Good for him and shame on the airline or any business that would be bigoted toward an employee of their own.

    Posted by: V | Jul 15, 2010 11:14:27 AM


  4. Justice is so rarely served. I would consider this cause for jubilation!

    Posted by: Chad | Jul 15, 2010 11:21:52 AM


  5. With all of the attention. DADT has gotten, ENDA seems to have been an afterthought. While I want gay men and women to serve in the armed forces, I think this victory hopefully serves as a reminder of the importance of federal antidiscrimination legislation. If this had happened in Texas, this guy would be SOL.

    Posted by: BMF | Jul 15, 2010 1:24:22 PM


  6. how do you prove that you were passed up for promotion b/c you are gay? (or how did he do it in this case)

    Posted by: me | Jul 15, 2010 11:16:05 PM


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