The Nation: Upping the Price of Bias

In Detroit last week U.S. District Court Judge Damon Keith handed down an astonishingly stiff decision in what may become a landmark discrimination case. Ruling that the Detroit Edison Co. (the nation's eleventh largest utility) had systematically discriminated against blacks in hiring and advancement in a manner he labeled "deliberate and by design," Keith awarded the plaintiffs in the case a whopping $4,000,000 in punitive damages—believed to be the largest award of its kind ever in a job discrimination case. "Since these defendants have been extremely obdurate and intransigent in their determination to implement and perpetuate racial discrimination," explained Keith,...

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