A federal jury has awarded $65,000 to a former Tupelo Municipal Court bailiff, finding that the city forced her out of the job in retaliation after she filed a discrimination charge.
The week-long trial before U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock ended with more than seven hours of deliberation before jurors returned early Saturday and awarded Letisha Mitchell $35,000 for lost wages and $30,000 for anxiety, attorney Jim Waide told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
“The jury came back just after midnight,” he said. “They said the city had retaliated by basically forcing her out of her job. She has been out of work since January of 2013.”
City attorney Ben Logan said he and attorney John Hill, who represented Tupelo at trial, will meet this week to decide whether to appeal.
Mitchell injured her neck and back in March 2010 while cutting down a prisoner who had hanged himself in the court’s holding cell. She filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying the city should have done more to change her duties after she was injured.
Jurors rejected her claim of disability discrimination.
“We never believed her injuries were a disabling condition, and the jury apparently agreed,” said Hill.
Logan said Mitchell rejected several jobs that were within her restrictions but paid less.
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