WGBC Secures Win, Almost $1M in Harassment and Discrimination Case

June 21, 2021

White, Graham, Buckley & Carr L.L.C. partners Deborah Blakely and Bryan White and co-counsel secured a favorable judgment and almost $1 million in financial compensation in a sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation case. Blakely and White were joined by co-counsel Kevin Jones of the Law Office of Kevin A. Jones.

The firm’s client, a former manufacturing employee, endured sexual comments, crude jokes and vulgar gestures on a daily basis. When she complained to several managers, all they did was try to “shoo” the harasser away from her.

After repeated complaints to management, the employee was ultimately fired for attendance issues, although she did not have enough attendance “points” to warrant termination under the employer’s own attendance policy. The team was able to prove that the company had not fired men who had far worse attendance than the female who was terminated in retaliation.

As way of defense, the employer first denied any sexual harassment, then blamed the former employee for any sexual harassment she experienced. This ultimately backfired and resulted in a substantial punitive damages award being assessed against the employer. In addition, the employer also concealed evidence of other complaints and even went so far as to destroy records that could have shown how many complaints of harassment and discrimination had been made by similarly situated employees.

The case, which originated in Jackson County, Missouri, resulted in the manufacturer being ordered to pay $946,000 in financial compensation, attorneys fees and expenses.

Learn more about the firm’s work with workplace harassment and discrimination.