Ex-Ford employee awarded nearly $17M in discrimination case

DETROIT (AP) — A jury has awarded nearly $17 million to a former Ford engineer who sued the automaker for discrimination because he says two supervisors repeatedly berated and criticized him for his Arab background and accent.

The Detroit Free Press reports a federal jury in Michigan ruled recently that Faisal Khalaf was subjected to workplace discrimination and retaliation after he reported the abuse. Khalaf was born in Lebanon.

The jury awarded Khalaf $15 million in punitive damages, $1.7 million in retirement and pension losses, and $100,000 for emotional distress for the actions of Ford supervisors Bennie Fowler and Jay Zhou.

A Ford representative says the company disagrees with the verdict and is pursuing options to get it “corrected.”

Ford has been criticized for workplace discrimination before, including in a New York Times investigation into sexual harassment at two Chicago plants.