The three-day trial involving alleged racial discrimination and retaliation against a former employee of Sanitary Garbage Company, Inc. has come to an end.
After lawyers for both sides delivered closing arguments, the jury in the trial of Jonathan Curry against Sanitary Garbage Company of Beatrice, presided over by Gage County District Court Judge Rick Schreiner, began deliberations just before noon on Thursday and returned with a verdict a little after 3 p.m.
The jury ruled in favor of Sanitary Garbage in three of the four charges leveled against the company—retaliation, racial discrimination and racial harassment by a supervisor.
One charge, racial harassment by a non-supervisor, was ruled in favor of Curry.
Curry, who is bi-racial, alleged that coworkers and supervisors used racial slurs around him and when he complained, the company retaliated against him by cutting his hours before eventually terminating his position in favor of white employees.
Sanitary Garbage, meanwhile, argued that Curry was terminated for absences and tardiness issues, rather than for retaliation.
Curry, who asked for a year’s worth of minimum wage pay, was not awarded any money for lost wages, but was awarded $1 by the jury, which was the mandatory minimum if no reimbursement was awarded but a decision came back in his favor.
Curry’s wife and his former coworkers were called to testify on Wednesday during the trial. During the trial, Curry’s attorney, Abby Osborn, claimed that a racial slur had been used against Curry.
“That word only has negative connotations,” Osborn said. “There is no positive use of that word. The only acceptable uses are here and in academic study about the harm that that word has caused to people, and the harm that it continues to cause, and the feelings that it continues to incite or the fear that it incites.”