Labor & Employment

Federal jury awards $4.7M to Yemeni-born man named Osama who was taunted and punched at work


A manager of a women’s clothing store in Brooklyn, New York, testified that a security guard was just teasing when he referred to a Yemeni-born stock clerk named Osama Saleh as “bin Laden” and a terrorist, in an apparent reference to the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.

But a lawyer for the 27-year-old called the taunting dangerous, and members of a federal jury apparently agreed. On Friday they awarded the $7.15-an-hour employee $4.7 million in a lawsuit Saleh filed after he was physically attacked by the black security guard he accused of making the racial slurs against him, the New York Daily News reports.

Saleh, who says his hearing was affected and that he has trouble chewing and eating after a punch fractured his cheekbone, sought damages for assault, negligent hiring and emotional distress. The award included punitive damages, the newspaper says, but it doesn’t give the amount.

The security guard pleaded guilty to a criminal assault charge but did not defend the civil suit in Brooklyn federal court. A lawyer for the Pretty Girl store declined to discuss the verdict with the Daily News.

Attorney Fred Brewington represented Saleh. “That level of disregard is so dangerous in a multicultural society,” he told the newspaper after the verdict.

Hat tip: Daily Mail.

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