Archives: Retaliation

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Iowa Supreme Court Reverses $1.5 Million Verdict Against Former Governor in Sexual Orientation Discrimination Suit

After nearly a decade of litigation, in Godrey v. State of Iowa et al, Case No. 19-1954 (June 30, 2021), the Iowa Supreme Court reversed a jury verdict granting $1.5 million in damages and $3.1 million in attorneys’ fees to the former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner, based on his allegation that the Governor of the … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Upholds High Bar for Plaintiffs Filing Retaliation Claims

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently reaffirmed employers’ rights under Title VII to make merit-based hiring decisions, even when it means rejecting a candidate who recently raised a meritorious claim of discrimination. In Robertson v. Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 949 F.3d 371, 374 (7th Cir. 2020), the plaintiff reported discriminatory conduct in the … Continue Reading

2,000 COVID-19-Related Employment Lawsuits Filed in the U.S.: An Analysis of the Data and Trends

On April 6, 2021, the total number of COVID-19-related employment complaints filed in United States courts passed the 2,000 mark.  Although it took eight months to reach the first 1,000 complaints (March–November 2020), it took less than five months to go from 1,000 to 2,000. Indeed, December 2020 through March 2021 included the four busiest … Continue Reading

How Little May an Employee Allege for Retaliation Protection?

The question of when a worker has raised concerns about discrimination sufficient to gain retaliation protection has not been answered consistently and clearly by courts. A case in Texas may provide clarification. The Texas Supreme Court, in Apache Corp. v. Davis, has been asked to evaluate a lower court ruling on the subject.  The lower court … Continue Reading

Documentation: The Star Role in Defending Against Retaliation Claims

Despite the heightened attention to avoiding and addressing sexual harassment claims in the wake of the #MeToo movement, retaliation remains the most-frequently filed employment law claim according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s FY 2019 Enforcement and Litigation Data. The agency received 39,110 retaliation charges in FY 2019 or 53.8% of all charges filed. The … Continue Reading

Former Winery Employees Awarded $11 million

Plaintiffs Megan Meadowcroft and Amanda Brown, two winery employees, alleged that they had been harassed on numerous occasions by their supervisor, General Manager Pinero. Specifically, Brown alleged that Pinero attempted to flirt with her, and physically made contact with her. Meadowcroft alleged that Pinero made sexually explicit gestures, sexually explicit comments, put his hands on … Continue Reading

Florida Jury Awards Former University Registrar $310,500 In Retaliation Suit

A jury recently returned a $310,500 verdict in favor of a former University of South Florida employee on her retaliation claim against the University. DeBose v. USF Board of Trustees, et al, No. 8:15-cv-02787 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 26, 2018).   The former employee, Angela DeBose, claimed she was retaliated against because she had filed internal race … Continue Reading

How to Minimize Exposure to Jury Verdicts with Internal Investigations

It is more important than ever that employers conduct internal investigations of workplace complaints and take appropriate action when there is cause to do so. Proper investigations and thorough pre-litigation assessments can help employers minimize exposure to unfavorable jury verdicts and awards. A case from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in which … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Jury Returns Unprecedented $28 Million Verdict for Retaliation Claim

A Suffolk County jury recently awarded a Haitian–American nurse an unprecedented $28.2 million in total damages on her claim of retaliation against Brigham & Women’s Hospital, her former employer. At the same time, the jury rejected the nurse’s claim of race discrimination. This verdict serves to emphasize what most employment litigators know from experience: juries … Continue Reading

Illinois Jury Rejects Transgender Worker’s Discrimination Claim

  A federal jury in Illinois has rejected a transgender employee’s claim that she was discriminated against and illegally fired after she told her employer that she was transitioning. In 2016, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against Rent-A-Center East, Inc., alleging the company discharged Megan Kerr illegally in 2014, after over a year’s worth of … Continue Reading

Restaurant Chain’s Spoiled Internal Investigation Leads to $8M Jury Award for Fired Employee

A Fresno, California jury has awarded nearly $8 million to former Chipotle employee Jeanette Ortiz on her claim of wrongful discharge. The jury found Chipotle had fired Ortiz in retaliation for her filing a worker’s compensation claim of carpal tunnel syndrome. It also found Chipotle falsely accused Ortiz of stealing money to disguise the unlawful … Continue Reading

Well-Documented Investigation and Carefully Written Policies Give Win to School District Against Discrimination, Retaliation Claims

  Following nearly 10 days of witness testimony, a jury in Denton, Texas, has ruled in favor of the Denton Independent School District (ISD), and rejected an ISD para-professional’s claim that he was fired in retaliation for complaining about discrimination. Although the ISD’s termination letter to the para-professional stated that his history of filing meritless … Continue Reading

Wisconsin Jury Rejects Fired Jail Officer’s Claims of Discrimination and Retaliation

A case involving a former jail officer shows how keeping detailed, contemporaneous records of complaints of discrimination and unfair treatment can help defend against employee claims. A federal jury in Wisconsin rejected a former jail officer’s claim that her termination was the result of sex discrimination and retaliation. The jury apparently found the plaintiff’s allegations of … Continue Reading

OSHA Says Lawsuits Constitute Adverse Action Too

Not only is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continuing to crack down on employers suspected of retaliating against employees who blow the whistle and will not hesitate to pursue litigation on behalf of employees, OSHA considers lawsuits against whistleblowers to constitute adverse action for purposes of finding unlawful retaliation. In a case brought … Continue Reading

2018 New Year’s Resolutions For Lowering the Risk of Employment Litigation

When Jackson Lewis litigation attorneys looked back at cases, trials, and verdicts from the past year, we observed how companies can make themselves less of a target for claims.  Below are some New Year’s resolutions that can help lower the risk of employment litigation: Train managers. Train employees. Keep a record of the training, including who attended. Review EEO laws and … Continue Reading

Iowa Waives Appeal of $2.2 million Verdict In Favor of Settlement

On August 24, 2017 we reported that former communications director for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus, Kristen Anderson, was awarded $2.2 million in damages by a jury that found Anderson had been fired in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. In late September, the parties reached a settlement, pursuant to … Continue Reading

Discrimination Due To Breastfeeding: Jury Verdict Upheld in Favor of Police Officer

Affirming that breastfeeding is a medical condition related to pregnancy and that the police department’s conduct violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), a federal appeals court in Atlanta has upheld the jury’s verdict for a former Tuscaloosa, Alabama police officer. Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, No. 16-13003 (11th Cir. Sept. 7, 2017).  Stephanie Hicks was awarded … Continue Reading

Jury Awards $4.5 Million to Hospital Employee for Discrimination and Retaliation

A plaintiff has been awarded $4.45 million for an age discrimination, disability discrimination, and retaliation action he filed under state law in a court in Iowa against his former employer. Gregory Hawkins v. Grinnell Regional Medical Center, et al., No. 08791 LALA002281. The award included $220,009 in back pay, $2 million in emotional distress damages, … Continue Reading
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