© 2022 Maine Public
header.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bangor jury finds race discrimination, awards $3M to former EMMC employee

david ako-annan.jpg
courtesy of David Ako-Annan
/
David Ako Annan is an immigrant from Ghana. He says he sued Eastern Maine Medical Center because his supervisor discriminated against him for being Black and male.

A federal jury in Bangor has awarded $3 million to a former employee of the Eastern Maine Medical Center, who says he was discriminated against when fired from his job three years ago.

David Ako Annan is an immigrant from Ghana. He says he sued the hospital because his supervisor discriminated against him for being Black and male.

The jury awarded Ako-Annan $1.5 million each in compensatory and punitive damages.

Attorney David Webbert believes it is the largest award for an employment discrimination case in Maine, and he's hopeful other businesses will take notice.

"That doesn't include his back pay, which is $300,000 already," Webbert said. "That's for... the financial distress, and for him, he has four kids, two in college. His whole goal of bringing them here from Ghana was to give them a world-class education, so they could reach their full potential. And then when he got fired, they had to start working two to three jobs."

Webbert tried unsuccessfully to move the trial to Cumberland County, with the hope that the jury would be more diverse. But he said he was satisfied with the jury, which was all white.

"This was a very thoughtful jury," Webbert said. "They were paying great attention, taking notes. That in itself was very comfortable, because that's a sign of respect."

Ako-Annan is still looking for a new job, Webbert said. Ako-Annan joined an EMMC primary care office in Orono back in 2013, where he was a manager.

He says he was subject to negative stereotypes and implicit bias despite having high performance scores.

In a statement, Rand O’Leary, president of Northern Light's Eastern Maine Medical Center, said the hospital was disappointed with the jury's conclusion.

"We believe the evidence clearly demonstrates that Mr. Ako-Annan failed to do his job in an acceptable manner," he said. "We continue to stand behind our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our workforce and believe it was amply demonstrated in this case."

Updated: November 4, 2022 at 8:37 AM EDT
Adds a comment from Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.