DETROIT (AP) – A jury has awarded nearly $17 million to a former Ford engineer who sued the automaker for discrimination because he says two supervisors repeatedly berated and criticized him for his Arab background and accent.

The Detroit Free Press reports that a federal jury in Michigan ruled March 28 that Faisal Khalaf was subjected to workplace discrimination and retaliation after he reported the abuse. Khalaf was born in Lebanon.

The jury awarded Khalaf $15 million in punitive damages, $1.7 million in retirement and pension losses, and $100,000 for emotional distress for the actions of Ford supervisors Bennie Fowler and Jay Zhou.

A Ford representative says the company disagrees with the verdict and is pursuing options to get it “corrected.”

Ford has been criticized for workplace discrimination before, including in a December New York Times investigation into sexual harassment at two Chicago plants.


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