Jury awards former jail employee $1 million in discrimination case

A man who was fired from the Allegheny County Jail has won a $1 million verdict in his favor.

The jury’s verdict is believed to be the largest employment discrimination verdict ever against Allegheny County.

Walter Mikulan was the third highest-paid major at the jail when he was fired four years ago. Mikulan was 58 years old when he was asked to resign. He refused and was fired after 30 years on the job.



"They were looking for any reason they could find, and they found minor infractions,” Mikulan said.

The belief is the jail warden fired Mikulan to get rid of older supervisors and because he used the Family and Medical Leave Act for work-related medical issues.

However, Mikulan and his attorney claim that to cover up the real reason, the warden claimed Mikulan was insubordinate. That claim of insubordination was never proven.

"To not have a single document, anywhere in the file, that someone concluded that he was insubordinate, that's wrong and outrageous and we're not going to tolerate it,” Mikulan’s attorney, Tim O’Brien, said. "He had two bull's eyes on him. One said, I'm too old. The other said, FMLA."

The eight jurors agreed and awarded Mikulan more than $1 million for lost earnings, future lost earnings and emotional distress.

"The single most important thing to me is my reputation was vindicated,” Mikulan said.