Labor Cabinet employee awarded $500K in lawsuit over firing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – A Kentucky jury awarded $500,000 to a former Labor Cabinet employee who said he was fired for reporting problems with an apprenticeship program promoted by Gov. Matt Bevin.

The Courier Journal reports Michael Donta was awarded $133,500 for lost wages Thursday, plus $366,500 in punitive damages.

Donta’s lawsuit says he was fired for reporting that Bevin’s nursing apprenticeship program wasn’t properly approved by federal labor officials. It’s unclear if his claim is true, as the defense rejected it and the program appears on the labor department’s apprenticeship finder website .

Donta’s termination letter says he was dismissed without cause.

The jury rejected Donta’s claim that he was also fired for reporting alleged sexual harassment by former director of the program, Winston Bennett.

The Labor Cabinet says they’re planning to appeal.

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