A federal jury has awarded a Rocky Mount woman more than $800,000 in damages after they say CSX Transportation violated her civil rights.
Vicky Bennett worked in the CSX rail yard in Rocky Mount in August 2008. The jury in Elizabeth City Wednesday said the railroad subjected her to a hostile work environment because she is an African American woman.
Her lawyer says in Bennett's first month of on the job training, she found her car had been spray painted with racial slurs that told her to stay off the railroad. She also found the back window of her car smashed and a mannequin head with a noose around its neck was found in the back seat. The woman's attorneys said the jury specifically found CSX management was responsible.
"Standing up to CSX has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. CSX, through its lawyers, spent almost 3 years attacking me at every turn. I spent many sleepless, fearful nights feeling like I didn't have the strength to continue. Because of those who supported and believed in me and my faith in God, I was able to hold them accountable for their conduct," said Bennett.
We called CSX for their reaction to the $835,704 verdict, and their communications director says the company is disappointed by the decision and is evaluating its next steps.