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January and February 2019 Verdicts and Settlements

Published by on March 11, 2019

Our summary of recent verdicts and settlements for January and February of 2019.

Florida: Jury awards $21.5 million to hotel dishwasher who worked at the Conrad Hotel in Miami. Marie Jean Pierre was hired as a dishwasher in April 2006. At the time she was hired, she informed her employer that she could not work on Sundays because she was a missionary for her church.

The hotel respected her beliefs and allowed her to have Sundays off. In 2015, the hotel put her back on a Sunday schedule, after a kitchen manager insisted that she work on those days. The change in her shift prompted her to ask to switch shifts with other co-workers. It later led to her termination because of unexcused absences.

California: Camarillo resident awarded $1.03 million after allegations of discrimination by her employer, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital. Virginia Hoover had injured herself after moving equipment she used as a radiologic technologist. She was restricted to not lift more than 15 pounds or reaching overhead. Hoover accused her employer of not properly accommodating her disability. St. John’s later terminated Hoover.

New York: Brooklyn federal jury awarded $523,000 to a public-school teacher for sexual harassment. Shaunte Penniston complained to the Department of Education regarding sexual demands made by principal, Antonio K’Tori. The DOE did nothing about the complaints but rather terminated Penniston on “bogus” charges regarding her poor performance at work.

Delaware: Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise to pay $1.5 million to resolve gender discrimination lawsuit. Allegations were made against the KFC/Taco Bell franchise for demoting a new mother wanting to pump breast milk at work.

Lampkins was hired months after giving birth. She claimed that she faced discrimination from her supervisors and co-workers because she was trying to pump breast milk at work. It was recommended that she pump every two hours but allowed only to pump once during each 10-hour training shift. When she was able to pump during her shifts, she claimed that she had no privacy and that the supervisor refused to turn the camera off when asked if she could use the supervisor’s office. Lampkins was later moved to another franchise where again, she received complaints of receiving special breaks to pump milk. Complaints eventually led to her demotion.

Update:  The judge granted the employer’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, reversing the jury award.  Story here.

Michigan: Covenant Medical Center to pay former employee $540,269 on age discrimination claim. The Healthcare provider employed Denise Doster as an employment specialist and recruiter in its Human Resources Department. Doster has been working for Covenant for 18 years before she was informed by her managers that Covenant would be hiring two generalists and consultants in her department.

Doster mentioned to Henige that she has always wanted the generalist position, instead was informed that they selected an outside candidate for one position and decided not to fill the other. Covenant selected a 27-year-old man with only three years of Human Resources experience which led to Doster’s belief that she was discriminated against based on her age.

Maryland: Maryland Insurance Administration to pay $36,802 to pay female fraud investigators in an Equal Pay Act lawsuit. The insurance company was charged for gender discrimination when the company had paid lower salaries to their female investigators than their male investigators.

Tennessee: Flash Market Inc. to pay $100,000 to settle sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The owner and operator of the convenience store located in Memphis permitted to a sexual hostile work environment after a female cashier made a complaint.

The female cashier alleged that her supervisor made explicit comments and subjected her to inappropriate touching. The cashier complained to one of her managers, but because she was being harassed as well, she could not help her. The cashier ended up filing a complaint and later was fired by the supervisor whom she was being harassed by.

Arkansas: R Wings R Wild, LLC, doing business as Buffalo Wild Wings, will pay $30,000 to three individuals for sex discrimination. Restaurant refused to hire male applicants for Bartender positions in Little Rock as well as Del City, Oklahoma.

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