Discrimination: The Price of Prejudice

The Price of Prejudice

Why would Shell Oil suddenly fire a 19-year employee who rose from $13,900 research veterinarian to $115,000 executive? According to Jeffery Collins, for one reason only: he is gay. Last week Judge Jacqueline Taber of California's Superior Court agreed, and ordered Shell to pay $5.3 million in damages for violating state law and its own contract with "a totally devoted employee."

Collins' trouble began in 1985, when he was director of a Shell subsidiary developing anticancer drugs. Using his office computer, Collins wrote an invitation to a party for gay men, which accidentally came to his superior's attention. Four days later,...

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