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Welder wins $1.5 million in racial-harassment suit

A black welder who endured years of racial harassment from his white co-workers and supervisors was awarded a record $1.5 million in damages Wednesday by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

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The commission voted 7 to 0 to order Firestone to pay the damages to Ben Citchen for failing to stop the racial harassment despite his repeated pleas. The company, a subsidiary of Firestone Tire & Rubber Company of Akron, Ohio, has 30 days to appeal.

A Firestone spokeman in Akron said there would be no comment on the award until company officials had reviewed the commission's order.

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