Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today issued the following statement after learning that an Iowa jury had awarded $240 million or $7.5 million each to the 32 disabled Iowans who faced discrimination and abuse while working for Henry's Turkey Service in Atalissa, Iowa. The jury found that Henry's Turkey Service violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by creating a hostile living and working environment and imposing discriminatory conditions of employment. In addition, the jury found that the company acted with "malice or reckless indifference" to the men's civil rights.
Harkin is Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and Senate author of the ADA.
"These men endured abuse and discrimination on a daily basis for years. Nothing will ever fully make up for that wrongdoing, but I consider today's ruling an important step in what has been a long road to justice for these workers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's strong enforcement in vigorously pursuing this action and today's court ruling sends a clear message to employers nationwide that our state and our country will not stand for egregious violations of civil rights and the protections we fought so hard to include in the ADA, and that every worker deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
"Several years ago, I met these men. I talked to them about their struggle. One thing was clear to me after that meeting: their spirit cannot be broken. In that regard, I hope this ruling brings them and their families some closure."