A pharmacist who claimed she was fired by Wal-Mart after asking to be paid the same as her male colleagues has won a nearly $2 million award against the retail giant.

A Berkshire Superior Court jury concluded Wal-Mart discriminated against Cynthia Haddad and awarded her nearly $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages Tuesday.

"It sends a message that you can't treat people poorly because of who they are," said David Belfort, Haddad's attorney.

Wal-Mart's attorneys didn't comment after the verdict.

Haddad was fired in April 2004 after more than 10 years at a Wal-Mart store in Pittsfield. She claimed in court that she was fired because she asked to be paid the same as her male counterparts, including a bonus given to pharmacy managers. The company paid the bonus, then fired her two weeks later.

Lawyers for the retailer said she was fired because she left the pharmacy unattended and allowed a technician to use her computer security code to issue prescriptions during her absence, including a fraudulent prescription for a painkiller.

Haddad's lawyers argued that the prescription was filled 18 months before she was dismissed and without her knowledge, and that more severe infractions by male pharmacists went unpunished.