L.A. Sanitation Worker Who Endured Harassment After Being Falsely Perceived as Gay Wins $17.4-Million Verdict 

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Previously, trash truck drivers have been barred from congregating in one area for lunch, napping in their vehicles and other rules that drivers are now fighting. (Dave Zahniser / Los Angeles Times / February 12, 2014)

Los Angeles jury has awarded a former city sanitation worker $17.4 million after finding that he endured repeated harassment by his supervisors, who falsely perceived that he was gay.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours Wednesday before unanimously deciding that James Pearl of L.A. was subjected to verbal abuse, hazing and a bullying campaign in which his portrait was photoshopped to show him in a same-sex relationship with a subordinate. The images were then circulated among city employees, Pearl’s attorney said.

When a colleague alerted a manager in the highest ranks of the Bureau of Sanitation about the mistreatment, the supervisor failed to take action, according to court papers.

Now 55, Pearl has been on permanent disability and suffers from physical and psychological damage, his attorney said.

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