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Recent Jury Verdicts and Settlements

Published by on April 16, 2009

Our latest update on jury verdicts and settlements after the break. VA — According to the VLW Blog, “[t]he city of Portsmouth has settled with the Justice Department in a lawsuit that claimed a written exam discriminated against African-American firefighter applicants.”  The settlement involves a settlement fund of $145,000 and an agreement by the city […]

Our latest update on jury verdicts and settlements after the break.

VA — According to the VLW Blog, “[t]he city of Portsmouth has settled with the Justice Department in a lawsuit that claimed a written exam discriminated against African-American firefighter applicants.”  The settlement involves a settlement fund of $145,000 and an agreement by the city to stop using the test.  Oddly enough, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a civil rights case this term involving fire fighters and tests.  Law.com has an update here and the Connecticut Employment Law Blog has a series of posts on the case here.

MN — “The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota has approved as final a proposed settlement of a sexual harassment lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against The Star Tribune Company for more than $300,000 and significant remedial relief . . . .  The suit was filed on behalf of female employees at the plant which produces The Star Tribune newspaper, one of the nation’s largest papers.  According to the EEOC’s suit, The Star Tribune created a sexually hostile work environment at its Heritage Production Facility “mail room” for two named women who had filed charges with the EEOC, and a class of similarly situated women. The jobs held by the women involved compiling newspapers and placing inserts into them – a historically male-dominated position. The harassment of the women included vulgar comments, dirty jokes and sex-based statements, the EEOC said in the suit, filed in September 2008 under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Civil Action No. 08-cv-5297).”

NC — “Framingham, Mass.-based TJX Companies, Inc., doing business as Marshalls, a discount retail store chain, will pay $110,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) . . . .  The EEOC had charged in its lawsuit that beginning in September 2004, a male supervisor at the Jacksonville, N.C., Marshalls store subjected [plaintiffs] and a class of similarly situated female employees to sexual harassment, including unwelcome sexual comments, sexual gestures and sexual touching. The EEOC also asserted that Marshalls knew or should have known about the sexual harassment and failed to take prompt and effective corrective action to stop it. The alleged harasser did not supervise any of the victims of the harassment, who all worked in the same store as the alleged harasser.”

CO — University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill wins wrongful termination lawsuit.  Churchill claimed he was fired for making comments about the 9/11 terrorist attack.  The issue of reinstatement is still up in the air.  For a different view on the case, go here.

WA — State Court of Appeals reinstates $1 million jury verdict to disabled worker.

CA — Female LAPD officer wins $2.3 million sexual harassment verdict.  Another story here.

MI — Veterans to receive $118,000 in USERRA settlement in case brought by the U.S. Department of Labor.

NC — “Britthaven, Inc., a Kinston, N.C.-based nursing home and assisted living chain, will pay $300,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) . . . .  The EEOC had charged that Britthaven had, since at least 2002, subjected pregnant employees to different terms and conditions of employment than its non‑pregnant employees. Specifically, the EEOC said that upon learning that an employee was pregnant, the company required her to obtain full medical clearance in order to continue working. As a result of this practice, [plaintiff] and other pregnant women were forced to take medical leave or were terminated despite the fact that they were fully capable of performing their job duties. [Plaintiff] worked at the Carolina Commons facility in Greensboro.”

GA — Federal jury awards three firefighters $250,000 each in lawsuit alleging retaliation after they became involved in hiring dispute.  Another story here.

CA — “Skilled Healthcare Group, Inc., Skilled Healthcare, LLC, and other affiliated companies, will pay up to $450,000 and provide significant remedial relief to a class of Hispanic employees at its nursing homes and assisted living facilities who were subject to harassment, different terms and conditions of employment, promotion, compensation, and treatment through the implementation of an English-only rule that was only enforced against Hispanics, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced . . . .  The EEOC filed suit in 2005 against the defendant companies alleging national origin discrimination on behalf of Hispanics under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, which approved the three-year consent decree settling the matter.”  The Ohio Employer’s Law Blog has a more detailed post about the case here.

TN — “Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores, Inc. will pay $255,000 and provide other relief to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced . . . .  The EEOC’s suit (No.3:07-cv-00376 E.D.TN), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Knoxville Division, had charged that Cracker Barrel allowed its general manager, managers, and other male employees to subject a class of women at its Cedar Bluff, Tenn., location to sexual harassment and retaliated against at least two of them. The general managers, other managers and male employees made repeated and unwanted sexual jokes, and lewd remarks, the EEOC said. Further, the agency said, although the women complained to the managers and Cracker Barrel’s 800 number complaint line, the company failed to take action to stop the harassment, and the general manager and other supervisors retaliated against women who had complained by moving one to an area where tips were low.”

NY — “Marjam Supply Company, Inc., a building materials supplier, will pay $495,000 to five former employees to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced . . . .  The EEOC’s lawsuit (Civil Action No. 03-cv-5413-SCR in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, White Plains Division) charged that Marjam discriminated against African American employees in its Newburgh warehouse facility on the basis of their race by subjecting them to differential discipline and termination, creating a hostile work environ­ment, and retaliating against employees who objected to the discrimination.  The EEOC charged that a Marjam supervisor and other Marjam employees made unwelcome racial slurs and comments. The racially hostile workplace included repeatedly calling an employee the N-word, talking about the Ku Klux Klan and referring to burning crosses in front of African American employees. An employee who complained was fired, the EEOC’s lawsuit charged. Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.”

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