Image of Sexual harassment jury verdicts and settlements

 

Federal, state, and local employment discrimination laws provide a range of remedies to victims of sexual harassment, including lost pay (aka back pay), emotional distress, and punitive damages.

The table below identifies some of the larger verdicts or public settlements in harassment cases in recent years.  These cases were handled by a variety of laws firms.

Verdict or settlementCase name, court, and yearStatute and claimsSummary
$168 millionChopourian v. Catholic Healthcare West (E.D. Cal. 2012)Title VII

California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

* Sex harassment

* Retaliation

* Discriminat-
ion
A 45-year-old surgical physician’s assistant brought a lawsuit against Catholic Healthcare West claiming she was subjected to a hostile work environment, sexual harassment, harassment, and wrongful termination. Ms. Chopourian was subjected to inappropriate remarks, sexual advances, and derogatory comments. When she complained about suffering mistreatment at the hands of other male employees, the defendant retaliated against her through defamation, false accusations, and unwarranted discipline.
$40 million (reduced from $95 million verdict)Alford v. Aaron Rents, Inc. (S.D. Ill. 2011)Title VII

Illinois Human Rights Act

* Sex harassment

* Retaliation
Ms. Alford began working at Aaron’s as a customer service representative. Shortly thereafter, a male employee Moore began intentionally and inappropriately touching her, calling her degrading pet names, and making uninvited advances. Moore sexually harassed and sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions including an incident in the office restrooms where he pushed her onto the floor pulled her shirt up and masturbated on her. She ollowed company policy and tried to contact a sexual harassment hotline. She also spoke to multiple managers but her complaints went unnoticed. She was persecuted at work, feared for her safety, and was not given equal opportunities when applying for a promotion.
$20 millionCarlson v. Ailes, (N.J. Super. Ct. 2016)NYC Human Rights Law

* Sexual harassment

* unfair compensation

* retaliation
Ms. Carlson, a former Fox News Anchor filed a lawsuit directly at her former boss and the CEO and Chairman of Fox News for sexual harassment. Her claims included retaliation, unfair compensation, sexual harassment, and emotional distress. She filed an internal complaint against Steven Doocy for disparate treatment and harassment. Mr. Ailes retaliated against her by giving her less prestigious assignments and reducing her compensation. During this time, he alluded to restoring her status at Fox News in exchange for sex.
She was awarded $20 million and Fox issued an apology on Mr. Ailes behalf. Following the lawsuit, other women came forward alleging Mr. Ailes committed multiple acts of sexual harassment.
$11.6 millionSanders v. Madison Square Garden, L.P. (S.D.N.Y 2007) Title VII

New York State Human Rights Law

New York City Human Rights Law

* Sex harassment

* Discriminat-
ion

* Retaliation
Ms. Sanders had joined the Knicks Basketball Operations in 2000. Her consistently positive performance reviews and hard work led to a promotion in 2002. In 2003, Isiah Thomas joined the organization as President of Basketball Operations. Ms. Sanders and Mr. Thomas met to discuss a conflict in their job responsibilities. Shortly thereafter, she received unwelcomed advances towards her and sexual harassment from Mr. Thomas. Other male employees and a basketball player were alleged to have made inappropriate comments about her and other female employees. Ms. Sanders brought suit for sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.
$10 millionEEOC v. Dial Corp. (N.D. Ill. 2003)Title VII

Illinois Human Rights Act

*Sex harassment

* Discriminat-
ion

* Retaliation
Beverley Allen, an employee at Dial, filed a charge of sex discrimination with the EEOC against a co-worker Paul Allen. Her complaint alleged she was sexually harassed for 3 years between 1992-95 and that the company took retaliatory action against her after she reported sexual harassment. Furthermore, the complaint alleges Dial took no action to prevent future incidences and to create a friendly work environment.
$8.4 million (reduced from $10.6 million verdict)Ingraham v. UBS Financial (Jackson County, MO 2011)Title VII

Missouri Human Rights Act

* Sex harassment

* Discriminat-
ion

* Retaliation
In 2008, Ms. Ingraham was subjected to sexual harassment at the hands of defendant and an employee James DeGoler. She filed a charge with the MCHR against UBS and DeGoler. UBS investigated the matter and decided there was no merit to her complaints. Later, Ms. Ingraham complained about sexual harassment and retaliation and upon UBS’s second investigation they came to a similar conclusion that there was no merit to her complaint. Ms. Ingraham decided to file a lawsuit in Jackson County and complained of sexual harassment, discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation.
$8 millionNeal v. D.C. Dep't Corrections (D.D.C. 1997)Title VII

42 U.S.C. 1983

* Sex harassment

* Retaliation
Plaintiffs include 7 current and former female employees and one male employee. The complaint alleges sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, lost wages, and lost promotion opportunities. Plaintiffs alleged their employer retaliated against employees who complained of or reported sexual harassment. Moreover, they alleged the department was culpable of four categories of illegal behavior: 1) quid pro quo sexual harassment 2) sexual favoritism 3) Hostile Work Environment 4) Retaliation
$3.5 million (reduced from $7.1 million)Weeks v. Baker & Mackenzie (Cal. App. Ct. 1998)Title VII

California FEHA

* Sex harassment
Ms. Rena Weeks filed a lawsuit against her employer and a partner, Martin Greenstein, at the firm for engaging in sexual harassment. Ms. Weeks was subjected to uninvited sexual advances toward her. He would touch her inappropriately, stuff candies in her breast pocket, and comment on her appearance. Ms. Weeks was emotionally distraught and sought help from the law firm. His behavior had been ignored many times before and no strict action was taken. Upon filing a complaint with the EEOC and filing a lawsuit thereafter, Ms. Weeks learned Mr. Greenstein had a history of sexually harassing female employees at the firm.
$3.5 millionFrieders v. City of Glendale (Cal. Super. Ct. 2003)Title VII

California FEHA

* Sex harassment

* Retaliation
Three police officers filed a lawsuit against the Glendale Police Department and the City of Glendale for sexual harassment they were subjected to and retaliation for filing complaints.

 

Hiring an experienced employment discrimination and sexual harassment lawyer

Hiring a proven and effective advocate is critical to obtaining the maximum recovery in an employment discrimination case.  Eric Bachman, Chair of the Firm’s Discrimination Practice, has substantial experience litigating precedent-setting individual and class action discrimination cases.   His wins include a $100 million settlement in a disparate impact Title VII class action and a $16 million class action settlement against a major grocery chain.  Having served as Special Litigation Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and as lead or co-counsel in numerous jury trials, Bachman is trial-tested and ready to fight for you to obtain the relief that you deserve.

Bachman writes frequently on topics related to promotion discrimination, harassment, and other employment discrimination issues at the Glass Ceiling Discrimination Blog.

U.S. News and Best Lawyers® have named Zuckerman Law a Tier 1 firm in Litigation – Labor and Employment in the Washington DC metropolitan area.  Contact us today to find out how we can help you.  To schedule a preliminary consultation, click here or call us at 202-262-8959 or (202) 769-1681.

Guide for Victims of Sexual Harassment

Combatting Sexual Harassment: Know Your Rights

  1. Can an employer be held liable for customer sexual harassment?
  2. What damages or remedies are available for victims of sexual harassment?
  3. What is a hostile work environment?
  4. Can a single incident of harassment suffice to establish liability?
  5. How do I prove my workplace is a hostile work environment?
  6. What is quid pro quo harassment?
  7. What is workplace sexual harassment?
  8. In a sexual harassment case, does it matter if it is a supervisor versus a co-worker who is harassing me?
  9. Who is a “supervisor” in sexual harassment cases?
  10. How can employees combat harassment at work?
  11. What is the deadline for filing a sex harassment or retaliation claim?
  12. What type of retaliation is prohibited against an employee who reports unlawful discrimination or harassment?
  13. Is an employer prohibited from retaliating against an employee because the employee reported harassment?
  14. What is an employer’s affirmative defense in a sex harassment case?

What is a hostile work environment?

How do I make a discrimination or harassment complaint?

How do courts measure emotional distress damages in employment discrimination cases?

If I complain about harassment and then am retaliated against, what rights do I have?

 

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