Discrimination is costly. And Harvard can pay, a Middlesex County jury ruled last Friday, awarding more than $2.6 million to former security guard Viatcheslav "Steve" Abramian, a Russian national who sued the University after his 1993 dismissal.
Abramian, who has been homeless since he lost his job at the University, said he was the victim of a pattern of discriminatory treatment from supervisors, including disproportionate disciplinary measures and ethnic slurs.
After a three week trial in June, the jury ruled the University retaliated against Abramian for complaints about harassment and awarded him more than $270,000 in lost wages, $250,000 for emotional distress and $750,000 in punitive damages.
Joseph G. Wrinn Jr., a University spokesperson, said that the total damages-after they are adjusted for inflation-are expected to total from $3.5 to $4 million.
The University is planning its appeal, according to the General Counsel's office.
"Finally, justice is done," Abramian said.
In addition to the damages assessed against the University, the jury also held three former employees accountable for Abramian's termination.