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Craig Hecht V National Heritage Academies, Genesee County Circuit Court Case No. 10-93161-CL (Hon. Geoffrey L. Neithercut)
In 2011, Mr. Lenhoff was Lead Trial Counsel in the case of Craig Hecht v National Heritage Academies, Genesee County Circuit Court Case No. 10-93161-CL (Hon. Geoffrey L. Neithercut). Mr. Lenhoff was assisted by his able Second Chair Robert D. Kent-Bryant.
In the Hecht case, a diligent and honorable charter school teacher, Craig Hecht, was discharged from his teaching position because of a harmless racial joke. Mr. Hecht had heard African-American employees utter racial jokes in the past. Mr. Hecht observed that no other employee had ever been discharged for telling racial jokes. Mr. Hecht’s students – both white and African-American – greatly respected Mr. Hecht’s teaching abilities.
In a clear case of reverse racial discrimination, Mr. Hecht was discharged from his job. He was discharged despite his record of skill, diligence and racial sensitivity. A Jury comprised of five white people and two African-American people unanimously found in favor of Craig Hecht and awarded $535,000 in damages.
On July 25, 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court, in a lengthy Opinion, affirmed that Mr. Hecht, a white male, was indeed the victim of racial discrimination in connection with this discharge from his teaching position at National Heritage Academies. Hecht is thus a significant Michigan Supreme Court case in the field of employment discrimination law.