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Recent Jury Verdicts and Settlements

Published by on May 5, 2009

Based on our anecdotal experience posting on jury verdicts and settlements for this blog, it appears that the EEOC is announcing a greater number of settlements each month.  The settlements, however, appear to be in lower amounts, on average, than in the past.  It also appears that more of the EEOC settlements publicized by the […]

Based on our anecdotal experience posting on jury verdicts and settlements for this blog, it appears that the EEOC is announcing a greater number of settlements each month.  The settlements, however, appear to be in lower amounts, on average, than in the past.  It also appears that more of the EEOC settlements publicized by the agency are “agenda” cases — i.e. cases that are pursued by the EEOC to follow their current “enforcement priorities.”

It is also possible that the defendant in some of those cases publicized by the EEOC would disagree with the factual characterization of the case by the EEOC in their press release.  We are not aware of all EEOC settlement press releases being negotiated between the parties as part of settlements, although it is possible that some are the result of negotiation between the parties.  Food for thought as one reads the announcements.

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

VA — Staunton jury returns verdict of $28,753 in conspiracy and breach of loyalty case involving real estate agents.  The demand was $2.35 million.

TN — “A Hamilton County jury has awarded $300,000 to a white former UTC police officer who claims he was fired after complaining about reverse racism and a culture of protecting black employees that exists in the school’s police department.”

MA — Judge upholds jury verdict for former Cambridge employee who lost job in 2003.  The plaintiff had been awarded $4.5 million in her retaliation action against the city.  Another story here.

CO — Jury awards former United Airlines supervisor $3 million in retaliation lawsuit.

CA — Former store manager wins $348,900 in wrongful termination breach of contract lawsuit against Jo-Ann superstore in Fresno.

NC — “A Garner, N.C.-based engineering and design company will pay $10,250 and furnish other relief to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced . . . . The EEOC had charged that Tyndall Engineering and Design, P.A. disciplined workers in a discriminatory fashion based on gender when it fired a female employee at its Raleigh facility after she returned from a leave of absence, while not firing men in similar situations.  According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Tyndall fired [plaintiff] when she did not provide medical documentation for her leave of absence. However, Tyndall previously allowed a similarly situated male employee to take a leave of absence without providing any medical documentation, and he was not fired.”

Ark. — “A North Little Rock, Ark.-based third-party receivables management company for health clubs will pay $20,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced . . . . The EEOC’s suit (Civil Action No. 4:08-CV-2816, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, at Little Rock) charged that ABC Financial Services fired [plaintiff] because she was pregnant. According to the EEOC, [plaintiff] was hired as a data entry clerk and placed into a four-week training program at the company’s Sherwood facility. After the training, employees were required to take a test. Approximately one week after [plaintiff] began the training, she was hospitalized for a condition unrelated to her pregnancy and missed a day and a half of the training. Thereafter, the company fired her because she had missed work and would need further leave to have her baby.”

FL — “National department store Nordstrom, Inc. will pay $292,500 to 10 former employees and furnish other remedial measures to settle a harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced . . . .  EEOC had charged that the department store manager harassed Hispanic and black employees based on their national origin, race, and color, and retaliated against those who complained about the harassment.  According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, an alterations department manager complained that she “hate[d] Hispanics,” and that Hispanics were “lazy” and “ignorant.” Hispanic tailors were chastised by the alterations manager for speaking to each other in Spanish. The same manager made other derogatory remarks such as “I don’t like blacks” and “you’re black, you stink.” The alterations manager harassed the alterations staff at Nordstrom stores in Palm Beach Gardens and Wellington, Fla.  The employees complained to Nordstrom about the harassment, but the harassment did not stop. The alteration’s manager retaliated against those who complained by continuing the racially offensive comments, unfairly berating employees and citing them for alleged performance problems.”

PA — “A Harrisburg, Pa.-based trucking dealership has agreed to pay $60,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced . . . . The EEOC had charged that Transteck, Inc., doing business as Freightliner of Philadelphia, violated federal civil rights laws when it failed to give salary increases to a black diesel technician because of his race.  The EEOC charged in its lawsuit (Civil Action 08-2490, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania), that Transteck failed to give a pay increase to [plaintiff], because he is African American. [Plaintiff], a Philadelphia resident with over 20 years of experience as a diesel technician, began working for Transteck in 2003 at its Levittown facility. The EEOC contended that despite [plaintiff’s] stellar job performance, the company failed to give him a salary increase or performance evaluation in 2006. However, the company provided salary increases to several white diesel technicians, including an increase to a white technician who had received numerous write-ups for poor performance, poor work quality or customer complaints. The EEOC charged that [plaintiff], who was consistently ranked among the top technicians at the facility, received no salary increase in 2006 because of his race.”

VA — A Richmond jury this week awarded a total of more than $150,000 in unpaid wages to 32 construction workers in a case against property owner.

AL — “A federal jury in Montgomery, Alabama, has returned a $5.79 million verdict against Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama and a mid-level manager for sexual harassment, negligence and retaliation.  ‘The jury awarded double what we were asking for,’ said Alicia Haynes, who represented former Hyundai employee Tammy Edwards with Kenneth Haynes. ‘They were upset at the negligence.’  The jury, which returned its verdict late Friday, awarded $795,000 in compensatory and $5 million in punitive damages against Hyundai. The jury also returned a $10,000 punitive verdict against [her] manager.”

NY –“A Hillside woman was recently awarded $1.86 million in a civil sexual harassment suit, after a jury in Brooklyn decided she was ridiculed and sexually abused by her employer at a home health care agency.”

CA — “A jury ruled this week in favor of the [defendant] county in a discrimination case filed by a former library employee.  The verdict was returned Monday in the case filed by [plaintiff] who had claimed that she was harassed by co-workers and denied a promotion because of her ethnicity.”

IN — “Heartland Employment Services, LLC, doing business as ManorCare of Indy South, an Indianapolis nursing home, will pay $56,000 and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced . . . .  According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, ManorCare of Indy South discriminated against a class of black employees by subjecting them to disparate terms and conditions of employment due to their race. The EEOC alleged that ManorCare made job assignments based on the race of its employees — specifically, the employer acceded to the requests of some patients and residents that black employees not be assigned to work in their rooms. The lawsuit also alleged that ManorCare discharged an African American employee due to her race.”

MI — “A Southfield, Mich.-based chain of weight loss clinics will pay $68,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced . . . . The EEOC had charged that Medical Weight Loss Clinic, Inc. unlawfully fired an employee with bipolar disorder because it regarded her as disabled, even though she had a superior work record with the company.  According to the EEOC’s lawsuit (Case No. 2:07-cv-15394 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan), employee [plaintiff] was a successful employee for more than seven years with Medical Weight Loss Clinic, but was discharged after it learned that she was on leave due to her disability.”

TN — “Southern Hills Medical Center will pay $70,000 and provide other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced . . . .  The EEOC’s suit (No. 3:07-cv-00976, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee) had charged that Southern Hills refused to allow [plaintiff], a practicing Muslim, to use his earned vacation time to make his pilgrimage to Mecca, which is required by his faith. Instead of accommo­dating his request for extended leave, the hospital insisted that [plaintiff] either work as scheduled or resign his position and reapply. [Plaintiff] resigned. The EEOC claims that when [plaintiff] returned from his pilgrimage and reapplied to work at Southern Hills, he was not rehired.”

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