Recent Employment Law Jury Verdicts and Settlements (Sept-Oct 2015)
Published by Eric A. Welter on November 13, 2015
Here’s a roundup of recent employment law jury verdicts and settlements of note to employers from across the United States, including cases from California, Florida, Indiana and Massachusetts.
Here’s a roundup of recent employment law jury verdicts and settlements of note to employers from across the United States:
Massachusetts – The jury in a Suffolk Superior Court awarded nearly $11 million to an employee of the City of Boston after finding in favor of the plaintiff, who claimed to have suffered from longstanding patterns of racial discrimination in per position with the city Treasury Department. The original complaint was filed with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination in 2011.
Indiana – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Indiana filed an appeal in response to the judgment in a federal discrimination case in which a jury determined that a language arts teacher had been the victim of gender discrimination in 2012. At the heart of the case was the fact that the employee took time off on multiple occasions to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.
The point of contention is whether the diocese’s decision to terminate her employment contract was on the basis of the church’s religious exemption that binds employees to demonstrate fidelity to church teachings, or whether it was on the basis of her gender due to the focus being her attempts to become pregnant.
California – Ellen Pao, a former employee of famous Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has elected to drop her appeal of the verdict in which a jury found in favor of the defendant in the high-profile gender discrimination case. The jury determined that Pao failed to show Kleiner Perkins discriminated against her and then retaliated against her for complaining about it. The jury ultimately ordered her to pay more than $275,000 in legal fees to the firm.
Florida – Five female farm workers won a $17 million verdict in a sexual harassment case decided in Miami federal court. The employees were vegetable packers who filed suit claiming harassment, coercion and sexual assaults took place on the family-owned farm where they worked. The original lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Florida – In another significant Florida case, a jury found that Walt Disney World did discriminate against an employee on the basis of race when considering her for a possible promotion, although it concluded that she likely would not have won the position anyway. The black woman, who was a security guard seeking a promotion to the position of emergency coordinator, was passed over for a white man who had less experience and education.