LANCASTER (CBSLA.com) — A former Rite Aid manager has won nearly $9 million in a lawsuit against the company.
Robert Leggins claimed supervisors harassed him after he was hurt trying to stop a robbery at the Lincoln Heights store.
Leggins spoke to KCAL9's Peter Daut on Friday evening.
It's a story that is Only On 9.
The 55-yar-old former Rite Aid manager and 30-year employee said he suffered a neck injury in the 2006 robbery attempt. He also said he had to undergo several surgeries for his neck and spine.
When he complained about doing heavy lifting and said he wanted a transfer to a lower-volume store in a better area, he was reportedly told "all black people do is complain."
The jury found that Rite Aid acted in malice when they fired him in 2013.
A jury concluded he was also the victim of harassment and wrongful termination. They awarded him in $3.7 million in compensatory damages and $5 million for punitive damages.
For nearly a decade, Leggins says he has kept this scar a secret.
"I was unable to be the father and family member I wanted to be," he told Daut.
Leggins says he never even told his six children about the neck injury he suffered.
"I would not wish this on my worst enemy," he said.
According to his lawsuit, his former employer was far from understanding or sympathetic.
When he complained of pain, supervisors accused him of "slacking off." Not only that, when he complained, he says they retaliated by giving him more work that required more physical labor that caused more injuries.
"I loved my job, I loved the people I was dealing with. I was unfortunately the victim of discrimination," Leggins said.
"You have to treat your employees or people prospectively looking for work fairly, nondiscriminatorily," Leggins' attorney Carney Shegerian said.
After several years of pain and secrecy, Leggins says he finally came clean to his son.
"I was finally able to look him in the eye and say 'Your dad, wrong was done to him and justice prevailed today.' "
Daut called and emailed both Rite Aid and their attorneys for comment but did not hear back.
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