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27/10/01 . Russell Rich v. McDonald's Corporation . Judge John Angelotta . U.S.A.  
Jury Forces McDonald's To Pay $5m After Discrimination Against Employee  

Judge John Angelotta
Russell Rich v. McDonald's Corporation
Case No. 98-368481


$5,000,000 unanimous jury verdict against McDonald's awarded to former manager in HIV discrimination suit

Cleveland, Ohio. October 26, 2001 - A Cuyahoga County jury returned a $5 million verdict against McDonald's Corporation following a 9 day trial. Russell Rich, 37, a former award winning manager of McDonald's of Hudson, owned by Sal Baglieri, sued for discrimination on the basis of HIV after he was forced to resign his position in October, 1997.

Paige A. Martin, of Columbus, attorney for Mr. Rich, said, "This case is about prejudice. Prejudice in the workplace is unacceptable as a condition of employment." Russell Rich came to McDonald's Corporation in July, 1997 after an award winning performance over 20 years at franchise owned restaurants. McDonald's conditioned his continuing to work on signing a release of his medical records after a brief hospitalization. Under this pressure, he disclosed his diagnosis to the HR rep. Thereafter, his supervisors refused to permit him to perform his management responsibilities, improperly disciplined him for job abandonment, and scheduled him to work unreasonably long hours.

After refusing to listen to his complaints about a hostile work environment, he was told to take an unpaid leave of absence for two weeks because the Operations Manager did not have time to speak with him. He became ill and when he notified McDonald's of his return to work, he was told he was being transferred to another restaurant where he would co-manage the store at a manager's salary, but his duties would be limited "for the rest of his career" to selling hamburgers over the front counter.

related links  
- Russell Rich v. McDonald's - an excellent piece from Gay Today

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