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Ex-Bus Mechanic Of Iraqi Descent Awarded $450K

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has awarded $450,000 to a former suburban Detroit bus system employee of Iraqi descent who claimed a co-worker made ethnic slurs against him.

The commission also ordered the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation to stop discriminating against employees, The Detroit Free Press reported. The award follows the commission’s order in October finding the bus system was liable in the case of Mazyn Barash.

The now 55-year-old Barash, who left SMART in 2004, said Friday he’s relieved but upset it took so long. The Farmington Hills man said threats and slurs started after 2001′s terrorist attacks and intensified near the start of the Iraq war in 2003.

The bus system’s attorneys strongly contested the former bus mechanic’s complaints. The system has 30 days to appeal.

Barash said Friday that he “felt relief” at the order announced last week, but at the same time, he’s upset that it took so long.

The award includes $150,000 for mental and emotional distress, $68,000 for lost wages and $124,000 in fees for his attorneys. With interest from the time Barash filed the initial complaint in June 2004, that comes to more than $450,000.

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