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Jury awards African American Corrections Officer large verdict

A jury awarded an African American corrections officer a verdict of $250,000 and set the stage for a total award of more than $400,000 plus attorneys' fees in a race discrimination case in Pittsburgh. According to the complaint, Thomas McClain was fired after 15 years of service for falling asleep on the job, while Roy Wyland, a white man, was not disciplined after being caught on video sleeping on the job.

According to Samuel Cordes, McClain's attorney, "the key to the four-day trial was the department's failure to discipline a white guy for sleeping. They did nothing when they had video evidence of the man sleeping." The jury of 8 people did not include any African Americans and deliberated for one day before returning the verdict for the plaintiff.

This verdict is one of the largest race discrimination cases in history of the Western District of Pennsylvania. In 1996 a jury awarded a black disc jockey $250,000 for a race discrimination case. Ron Chavis, the fired disc jockey, was represented by Cordes as well.

Currently, Cordes is representing a former employer and a manager who were fired in the race discrimination case against a local Panera Bread franchise.

Read the Post-Gazette story Former halfway house worker wins bias claim

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