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Jury Awards $687,000 in Race Discrimination Case

On January 20, 2016, a jury in D.C. federal court found that Plaintiff Briggitta Hardin was unlawfully denied a bartending position at a Chinatown bar because she is African-American, and awarded her $175,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $512,000 in punitive damages.

Ms. Hardin had sought a bartending position at Redline, an upscale sports bar in Chinatown, in order to finance her education at Howard University. She was hired by a Redline manager. When she arrived for her first shift a week and a half later, she met its owner Mick Dadlani for the first time. He refused to speak to her or even shake her hand, and fired her. Testimony from former managers and employees revealed that Dadlani expressed a preference for hiring white, blonde women for bartending positions, and ignored management’s repeated objections that such hiring restrictions are illegal. The jury found Dadlani and the Redline bar liable under both federal and District of Columbia anti-discrimination laws.

The case, Hardin v. Dadlani, et al., 11-cv-02052-RBW (D.D.C.), was tried before the Hon. Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and concluded with verdicts in Ms. Hardin’s favor on all counts. The trial team was led by Megan Cacace, Jia Cobb, and Yiyang Wu of Relman, Dane & Colfax. Matthew Handley and Dennis Corkery of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights lent valuable support during the litigation as co-counsel.