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Texas Jury Awards $70 Million for Race Discrimination

Ten employees sued Glow Networks and its parent company, CSS Corp., for race discrimination under §1981 of the Civil Rights Act (1866). The company provides engineering, installation services, and consulting for telecommunication companies. Nine of the ten former employees are Black.

The employees allege Glow selectively punished Black employees for checking their phones and only stationed Black employees in two rooms with cameras to monitor them. Glow had migrated the Black workers to these two rooms. They also assert supervisors would reprimand them for leaving their desks without notice or taking an extra few minutes during their breaks. They claim white employees did not receive the same response. One plaintiff, Joshua Yarbrough, said he witnessed the discrimination against Black employees and noticed the company installing the surveillance cameras. He said asserted the company did not promote Black employees or provide them with as much job training. Yarbrough left the company after it demoted him and replaced him with the owner’s girlfriend; she was not Black, had less tenure, and had less experience. The lawsuit’s members said they complained to human resources and management but no action was taken. The white member worked as a team leader and asserted Glow let only high-performing Black employees go during seniority-based layoffs.

The jury awarded each plaintiff $3 million in emotional distress damages and $4 million in punitive damages. Because the verdict shows a violation of Section 1981, as opposed to Title VII, there is no cap on damages. The former employees argued the company violated their rights as citizens because of their race. Attorneys for Glow issued a statement expressing its disappointment with the verdict and said it will be exploring “all available avenues on appeal.”