Trending Topics

Company Ordered to Pay Black Man $25 Million for Racist Mistreatment

Elijah Turley has been awarded $25 million in damages due to the racist actions of his former boss. Turley testified that the executives of ArcelorMittal subjected him to racist mistreatment for years, slandering him because of the color of his skin, according to reports. Turley will receive a substantial monetary peace offering, but will the millions be enough to rid him of his emotional scars?

“This case is about the breakdown of a man,” said Ryan J. Mills, Elijah Turley’s lawyer, in a New York City courtroom. Turley, who is black, went on to describe the graffiti that adorned the walls of his work place. He vividly remembers “KKK” and “King Kong” spray painted across the walls of the plant, and a stuffed monkey with a noose around its neck hanging from his driver’s side mirror. And these aren’t accounts from sixty years ago. Turley faced these graphic images every day from 2005 to 2008.

According to Turley operated equipment that removed impurities from metals at the Lackawanna steel plant, a position that would ultimately change his life forever. He confirmed with the jury that his experience at ArcelorMittal in Erie County, New York, left him physically and emotionally damaged.

“It’s absolutely shocking that a case like this is in court in 2012,” Mills told the jury. “It should be viewed as atrocious and intolerable in a civilized society.” The jury agreed with Mills’ statement, hitting the Luxembourg-based plant with damages of $25 million.

ArcelorMittal has acknowledged that Turley’s description of the abuse was largely accurate, but argued it amounted to common “trash-talking.” The company also stated that executives took steps to stop the hateful crimes, including hiring a private investigator, installing security cameras and suspending employees who were involved in the racial fiasco. Company officials were reportedly “astonished” by the judge’s decision.

“He wanted to be treated equally,” concluded Mills. “Treated equally in a culture that hadn’t changed since the ’50s.”

The Lackawanna plant stopped production in 2009 but ArcelorMittal continues to operate other plants in the U.S.


Back to top